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Poster for In the Name of Love: Paris Is Burning (1991)
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In the Name of Love: Paris Is Burning (1991)

Opens on June 7

Director: Jennie Livingston Run Time: 78 min. Release Year: 1991

Starring: Dorian Corey, Octavia St. Laurent, Pepper LaBeija, Venus Xtravaganza, Willi Ninja

Country: United States, United Kingdom
Language: English

About the film:

Best Documentary at Berlin International Film Festival, Outstanding Documentary Film at GLAAD Media Awards, Grand Jury Prize for Best Documentary at Sundance Film Festival.

Where does voguing come from, and what, exactly, is throwing shade? This landmark documentary provides a vibrant snapshot of the 1980s through the eyes of New York City’s African American and Latinx Harlem drag-ball scene. Made over seven years, Paris is Burning (1991) offers an intimate portrait of rival fashion “houses,” from fierce contests for trophies to house mothers offering sustenance in a world rampant with homophobia, transphobia, racism, AIDS, and poverty. Featuring legendary voguers, drag queens, and trans women—including Willi Ninja, Pepper LaBeija, Dorian Corey, and Venus Xtravaganza—Paris is Burning (1991) brings it, celebrating the joy of movement, the force of eloquence, and the draw of community.

Selected for preservation by the National Film Preservation Board in 2016.

“A fascinating portrait of a complex, materially disadvantaged subculture structured around intensely competitive aesthetic displays later plundered for a Madonna video”

—Ben Walters, Time Out

About the filmmaker:

Jennie Livingston is a groundbreaking filmmaker, known for lively storytelling, nuanced character portraits, and thoughtful explorations of identity, class, race, death, sex, and gender. In addition to directing and producing, Livingston is a writer, photographer, draftsperson, and educator. Livingston’s previous work includes Paris is Burning (1991), Who’s the Top? (2005), Through the Ice (2005), Hotheads (1994). She has also worked in television as a consulting producer and director on PoseFX. Currently, Livingston is working on a first-person hybrid feature that is expected to release this year titled Earth Camp One. This new feature is about losing five family members in a decade, about queer identity and queer resilience, and about walking through the world (and surviving) by invoking the powers of looking and listening. 

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