The Criterion Collection gave us gays what we want. Since last year, they teased that the iconic documentary “Paris is Burning” will get a re-release—and it comes with an hour of unreleased footage.
On Apr. 27, The Criterion Collection dropped the BluRay release of “Paris Is Burning,” which includes an hour of new content and an informative booklet.
Last summer of 2019, documentarian Jenny Livingston announced “Paris Is Burning” will get a 2k digital restoration. This impactful piece of cinema focuses on LGBTQ+ ballroom culture at its peak. Apart from the unreleased footages, we also get audio commentary, the ’91 “Joan Rivers Show” interview featuring ball legends Pepper LaBeija, Freddie Pendavis, and Willi Ninja, plus a roundtable discussion between Livingston, filmmaker Thomas Allen Harris and ball community members Sol Pendavis and Freddie Pendavis.
Made over seven years, PARIS IS BURNING 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. pic.twitter.com/I0VFaqTNOJ
— Criterion Collection (@Criterion) November 15, 2019
“Paris is Burning” is more than just a queer culture documentary. Through ball culture, we are given our rainbow lexicon, a broader understanding of LGBTQ+ community and the hardships we face on a daily. It is not just the film that gave us words like “reading” or “shade.” At a time where the AIDS crisis was in its peak, this piece of rainbow cinema made the LGBTQ+ community feel seen and heard.
Read more: Queens of the night: A herstory of Filipino drag culture
The digitally restored version of “Paris is Burning” is now available at The Criterion Collection. In case you haven’t watched it, time to press play on the trailer below.
Take a look inside Dumaguete’s rising drag scene
A Behind The Scenes Look At The Manila Burlesque Scene
Express yourself: Three young queer creatives on style and identity
Still from “Paris is Burning”