Paris Is Burning

09/08/2015 19:00

Dr. Felix 72A, Bucharest, Romania

In 1990, the world was offered a visual intro to the drag queen underground scene of the late ’80s – on how does a Drag Ball in Harlem, NY look like, and what that new dance called “vogueing” is – with the documentary Paris is burning by Jennie Livinston, winner of many prizes at International gay film festivals. For a while, the film was shown an all continents and at various queer cultural events. Then Madonna made vogueing very popular when she brought out her famous/ infamous, black and white video clip Vogue that took dance floors of the world by storm. For nearly two decades, Paris is burning was talked about, written on, debated and mentioned as a film of paramount importance and scope to the gay community and the drag balls underground. 

In 2015, 25 years later, Paris Is Burning came under fire from some queer activists, who organized a public protest against the film, for what they say is a manipulative and somewhat “racist” piece of cinema and asked for its banning from the most important gay film festivals in the US – among them, the Sundance Film Festival. Its status has thus changed and it is worth understanding why.

ROQ DOC and ODD present for the first time Paris Is Burning subtitled in Romanian, to celebrate its 25th anniversary, and as a shout from the past about the state of queer culture then, but also today. The screening of the film will be followed by a panel discussion hosted by A.N. Păun with the participation of queer activists Ștefan Iancu and Vlad Levente Viski, about contemporary queer culture in Romania and abroad. We are especially interested in positioning the Romanian queer scene in regards to the overall history of the subculture, to understand its temporality and dynamics.

Photos by Florian Cramer.