Paris Is Burning

critic Reviews

, 98% Certified Fresh Tomatometer Score
  • Paris Is Burning dives into '80s transgender subculture, with the understated camera allowing this world to flourish and the people to speak (and dance) for themselves.
  • , Fresh Tomatometer Score
    Christine DolenMiami Herald
    It is strong, sardonically funny, sometimes shattering stuff.
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  • , Fresh Tomatometer Score
    Geoff BrownTimes (UK)
    Half sad, half exuberant.
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  • , Fresh Tomatometer Score
    Gene SiskelChicago Tribune
    The earnestness of the competition is what holds this film together.
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  • , Fresh Tomatometer Score
    Vincent CanbyNew York Times
    There is a lot of common sense and natural wit behind the role-playing. Yet there is also a terrible sadness in the testimony.
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  • , Fresh Tomatometer Score
    Kenneth TuranLos Angeles Times
    [The film intercuts] ball scenes with interviews with the participants in less hectic, more reflective moments. It is those personal, humanizing moments, much more than the hectic, eye-catching hubbub of performance, that truly linger in the mind.
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  • , Fresh Tomatometer Score
    Louise GraySight & Sound
    If the wit, glamour and mind-boggling outfits of Paris Is Burning are disarming, not far beneath the film's surface is an immensely moving quality.
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  • , Fresh Tomatometer Score
    Michael Cubythem.
    ...it is most importantly a story about the power of chosen family — the solace that can come simply by finding other people in the world that can relate to your struggles and will love you regardless.
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  • , Fresh Tomatometer Score
    Elizabeth C. DonahoeWashington Blade
    In this gritty but celebratory documentary produced and directed by Lesbian filmmaker Jennie Livingston, it is not the fashions but the characters that stay with the viewer.
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  • , Fresh Tomatometer Score
    Nick LevineNME
    Jennie Livingston's seminal documentary film shines a spotlight on New York City's ball culture, a place where African-American and Latino LGBTQ people could live out their high-glamour fantasies.
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  • , Fresh Tomatometer Score
    David HarrisSpectrum Culture
    Paris is Burning is still an important film 30 years after its release - a snapshot of a specific time and place that humanizes its subjects and allows those of us in a place of privilege to understand them better.
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