After Stonewall [Import]
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The companion film to Before Stonewall, After Stonewall, narrated by Melissa Etheridge, explores gay history in the U.S. from the 1970s through the 1990s. Like its predecessor, After Stonewall attempts to cover much ground in a short amount of time; however, with only three decades to span, the assignment is more manageable.
The film covers the predictable highs and lows of the last 30 years of the 20th century. On the side of triumph, it explores the declassification of homosexuality as a disease; the growth of gay presses and writers; gay wins in political office (notably Harvey Milk and Elaine Noble); and the formation of a national gay lobbying presence in the Human Rights Fund. On the flip side, we witness the antigay hysteria evoked by Anita Bryant; the rise of AIDS, the blind eye of the federal government; and the growth of the Christian Coalition. Perhaps the most significant contribution of this film is its mapping of a gay presence within popular media. Through TV shows such as South Park and covers of Newsweek and Time, as well as "out" popular performers like k.d. lang and Ellen DeGeneres, the case is made that gay culture has "arrived" in America--a huge leap from the days before Stonewall when the common idea of a gay person was someone to snicker at or otherwise dismiss as a lunatic. --Katy Ankenman --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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After Stonewall depicts the struggle evolving from those empowering nights in New York City, and how it blossomed into a national movement. Long a mecca for the Bohemians of society, New york City is a natural birthplace for such a movement. Now, we see how that movement grew, through the times of trial of the AIDS epidemic, to the growth of the Religious Right and their ultimate intolerance.
This video does try to capture too much in too short of time, but the effect is quick and yet inspirational. It was amazing to listen to those people who were at ground zero of the AIDS epidemic, and the response of the community to it. The section of the AIDS quilt will immediately bring tears; it's poignant and heartbreaking. This documentary stops short of the millenium, but it manages to cover a wide-range of issues.
It's critical as a community that we embrace where we've come from. It seems as we traverse times of trial and tribulation, it's important to understand our roots. It's those roots, based in the stories that are in this movie, that ground us and help instill a sense a pride in where we've come from, and where we'll be going. With that pride comes strength, strength of will, strength of character. The people who so bravely walked before us, are our sources of self-empowerment.
Watch this move, learn, and live.
However, the broad historical narrative it presents is sometimes misleading. This is because the film reorders events, suggesting false cause-and-effect linkages. For instance, it suggests that the anti-gay crusades of Anita Bryant and Sen. Briggs (in 1977 and 1978) led to the founding of the National Gay Task Force (which actually occurred years earlier) and to a spate of anti-gay arson fires (also years earlier). It suggests that the anti-gay backlash surrounding the death of Rock Hudson happened after the Supreme Court's Bower v. Hardwick decision (1986) and after the wave of gay political activism in response to the Bower verdict (mostly in 1987), whereas Hudson had died the year before the Court ruling. It does this sort of thing again and again.
Presumably the goal was to create a more linear narrative, but it's bad history. I enjoy this documentary very much but please don't use it as your only source of information on the history of the gay community from the 1970s to 1990s.
AFTER STONEWALL leaps away from the WWII generation of gays and lesbians who were covered in BEFORE STONEWALL. This documentary charges onward with gay American history beginning in the 1970s. While not as intimately quirky as BEFORE STONEWALL, it addresses its target crowd: twenty-something gay people with political axes to grind.
As to that, I'd like to add that this documentary is really missing solid political input. Its preceding documentary counterpart at least had some government officials talking about their anti-gay policies. This film, however, seems to avoid the subject altogether. We have to realize that today, with Don't Ask Don't Tell being held to the fire, we still have political axes to grind.
This is an excellent overall documentary, though a bit of a limp shadow of its predecessor. And I cannot think of a worse narrator than Melissa Etheridge!