Documentary about transgender women and drag queens who fought police harassment at Compton's Cafeteria in San Francisco's Tenderloin in 1966, three years before the famous riot at Stonewall Inn bar in NYC.
This Oscar nominated film is the story of two men who are opposites, one gay, the other straight, one a fierce communist, the other a fierce individualist, one suspicious, the other accepting, and how they come to love each other.
Tomás Gutiérrez Alea,
Juan Carlos Tabío
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Who could have guessed that a bunch of men in dresses would breath life into the movement to win equal rights for gay men and lesbians? Certainly not the police who raided the Stonewall Inn, a popular "drag" bar in Greenwich Village. After a long history of police raids, extortion, and brutality, a gaggle of drag queens at the Stonewall decide they have had enough and begin to riot when the police try to load them into a paddy wagon. Told by "La Miranda" (Hector), a regular customer at the Stonewall Inn, the film is a recounting of events that led up to that fateful day in 1969. "Matty Dean" is the handsome angry young man that La Miranda meets at the Stonewall one day and with whom she/he quickly falls in love. "Bostonia" is the self-styled Queen Mother of the drag queens and guides each initiate gently "into the life." Her lover, Vinnie, is the closeted proprietor of the Stonewall. His tragic response to the suffocation he feels bearing down on him from a homophobic world -- perhaps... Written by
Mark Fleetwood <email@example.com>
"Stonewall" is a fictional but very inspired and moving account of events leading up to and culminating in the famous gay riots in NYC. Don't be fooled by the packaging...this is in no way a fluffy work in the vein of "Can't Stop the Music." It is deeply moving, very nearly tragic as it depicts the complex stressful lives of several characters. Fred Weller is marvelous as the genuine and untried hick Matty Dean who can't accept the comforts of compromise when he knows most of his compatriots are unjustly suffering. Guillermo Diaz as the drag queen La Miranda, who resembles Connie Francis when made-up, is outstanding as Matty's insecure mentor and eventual mate. Hopefully, the rampant police brutality against LGBT persons will be alleviated after the events depicted. I have heard several horrifying stories from a few who were arrested and their subsequent brutal treatment in jails. This film is so well-acted and paced that it should be seen by anyone, gay or straight, who has any interest in basic human rights issues. It will certainly make you think, and doubtless leave a lasting impression and perhaps not a little enlightenment.
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