Sydenham Film Club
Paris is Burning
7.30pm Thursday 24 September
116 Sydenham Road SE26 5JX
Filmed by director Jennie Livingston over seven years, Paris is Burning is a stunning documentary about the drag Ball culture of 1980s New York — the scene that gave birth to Vogueing. 25 years in from it’s original release, it is still as fierce as ever.
In a ballroom you can be anything you want
Pushed underground by a society that refused to accept them, members of the black and Hispanic gay and transgender community of 1980s New York created a world that did — a world of fabulous Balls where ‘houses’ competed against each other in a series of modelling competitions showcasing different drag styles.
Moving between footage of the Balls and interviews with key members of the scene, the film powerfully explores the lived politics of race, class, gender and sexuality in 1980s America.
As well as explaining the way that Balls and Houses function, interviewees speak candidly and poignantly about their lives and the discrimination they face.
This is their film. And you really shouldn’t miss it.
★★★★ The beauty of Paris Is Burning is…Livingston’s nonjudgmental camera — Fernando F. Croce, Slant Magazine
★★★★ Witty and profound documentary about the rituals of the new urban drag-queen subculture — Owen Gleibernan, Entertainment Weekly
★★★★ Fascinating portrait of a complex, materially disadvantaged subculture – Ben Walters, Time Out