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Paris Is Burning Movie Review

documentary livingston film xtravaganza

Why is a documentary about vogueing at New York drag balls called Paris Is Burning? Heck if I know, but Jennie Livingston's documentary is a valuable record of its era, filmed at the Paris Ballroom in the Bronx between 1985–89. The contestants, mostly black or Hispanic gay males, get to be stars for as long as they're in costume. Except for the postscript, it's funny and nonjudgmental and at 71 minutes in length, it won't wear out its welcome.

1991 (R) 71m/C Dorian Corey, Pepper Labeija, Venus Xtravaganza, Octavia St. Laurant, Willi Ninja, Anji Xtravaganza, Freddie Pendavis, Junior Labeija; D: Jennie Livingston; C: Paul Gibson. National Society of Film Critics Awards ‘91: Best Feature Documentary; Sundance Film Festival ‘91: Grand Jury Prize. VHS

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