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Paris Is Burning [Import]

André Christian , Dorian Corey , Jennie Livingston    R (Restricted)   DVD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 59.99 & FREE Shipping. Details
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Fascinating, discomfiting, and poignant (sometimes all at once), Paris Is Burning documents New York City's recherché "ball" circuit, where members of the black and Latino gay, transvestite, and transsexual communities compete to see who can wear the most outlandish outfits and dance, pose, and generally show off to most outrageous effect. These are folks who live with a double whammy of discrimination, as they are minorities both sexually and racially. But while their tales of rejection by both society and their own families are woeful and bitter, the participants come alive when they hit the "runway" (actually the floor of some old gymnasium) to strut their stuff, liberated from the pressure of blending in with the mainstream. "Whatever you want to be, you be," says one, whether it's a school kid, a country club polo player, a high-rent executive, a character from television's Dynasty (which for some represents the dernier cri in elegance and wealth)… anything goes. Along the way, we meet characters with names like Pepper Labeija, Venus Xtravaganza, and Willi Ninja; we also learn about "reading" (i.e., dissing your competitors), "shading" (a more subtle, non-verbal version of the same thing), and "voguing" (later adopted by Madonna, it combines the poses and haughty looks of your average supermodel). Critics at the time of the film's original 1990 release tended to focus on the sadness and not-so-quiet desperation of these people's efforts to transcend their circumstances and become one-night legends, but overall, Paris Is Burning comes across as simply a damn good time. --Sam Graham

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5.0 out of 5 stars required viewing Sept. 17 2013
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This documentary changed me. I quote from it daily! I now tell my friends it is required viewing if they want to understand me.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I want this movie on DVD right NOW! April 27 2004
Format:VHS Tape
What's up with the entertainment industry? They shovel [bad stuff] down our throats like Spy Kids 2 and Gigli, but try to find brilliant, daring movies like Paris is Burning or Hoop Dreams on DVD - forget it. You might as well try to find Barbara Bush in a tube top on Bourbon Street. Which, now that I think about it, has an demonic sort of appeal all its own. And with that Wilma Flintstone pearl necklace of hers...what a sizzling hot look! I can hear Beelzebub cackling with delight right now.
See you in New York this August, Barbara!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing Film Dec 29 2009
Format:DVD
If you haven't seen this documentary, it's a must. The film sparked controversy back in 1990 when it was shut out of the Best Doc category at the Oscars, despite critical raves. Overall, the movie is an intriguing, serious yet also fun, look at a segment of the New York gay scene in the late '80s, where Voguing was born. But this isn't a shallow film, in fact it shows both the surface glamour and the deep troubled lives of these mostly young black men. A real hidden gem worth the purchase price, with a few worthwhile special features, including deleted scenes.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Drag queen fans Dec 27 2009
Format:DVD
I'm a women who've always been curious about the black gay culture's history. This documentary is well done compare to other similar filmography.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Yes, alive and well April 10 2004
By J
Format:VHS Tape
Reading many of the reviews I'm saddened to see that most people today don't know that the House scene, still is, alive and very well. The Los Angeles House scene, yes modeled from that of the NY scene, is 11 houses and strong, with many fierce, and fabulous balls to brag about baby. Although most of the categories have been modified and simplified with a lil' L.A. flava our balls hold true to where we first began.
Many of the House family members display their voguing in the L.A. hip hop club scene. However our style of voguing has changed slightly, we 'chop', 'sha-blam', and 'shut 'em down' with ol' school/new school flava. Enjoying our unity as a community, a family, and as a people. See you at the next ball.
:-)
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