Paris Is Burning Film Analysis

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The documentary Paris Is Burning directed by Jeannie Livingston is not only one of my favorite films, but it gives an extraordinary insight into the society of its time. The film documents the lives of gay and transgender African Americans and Latinos apart of the ball culture of New York City in the 80’s. Balls were competitions that involved dressing up and competing in themed categories. Not all the performers in these categories were drag queens, although a large percent were drag queens or trans women. These people often formed what they called houses, or family groups of similar people. Houses were significant considering these people were often disowned by their real family for their gender identity or sexual orientation. The best and eldest member of each house was called the mother and winning balls brought legendary status to their houses and members of the house. Paris Is Burning introduced terms such as ball, shade, houses, reading, and vouging into popular culture and the drag community today.

I first watched Paris Is Burning about a year ago to learn more about the history of drag and how drag got the way it is today. Drag queens are a fairly new interest
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When I first viewed the film I felt awakened, like my perspective on the world shifted. This documentary strips people of their labels and enables people to view them as human beings with hopes and dreams. I’ve always felt out of place and the society we live in, but this made me feel fortunate to fit in as well as I do and to be as well off as I am. It also makes me grateful for the further steps of equality for all people that are being taken today in society. In conclusion, Paris Is Burning is an extremely valuable film that documents lives and cultures of minorities in the 80 's. This film is something that expanded my perspective on life and made me realize that being a misfit in society is

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