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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.
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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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Frederick Weller is the perfect embodiment of the frustrated gay male who is ready for a change, and a revolution to boot. He arrives in NYC, somewhat naive, and is befriended by a drag queen who introduces him to the city and its many characters. He is discouraged almost immediately but it starts a feeling in him that makes him uneasy about the way things are. At the time bars were getting raided constantly and there were other ridiculous laws, too, none of which sit well with him. He befriends another man who enlightens him about rallies, a peaceful march to Philadelphia, and takes him to Fire Island. But its all still bad, since he knows he's being treated badly because of who he is.
Climax of the movie is the riot at the end, which wasn't much of one as far as I'm concerned, but the police finally found they were being stood up to, and they didn't like it.
All the actors are excellent, especially Weller, who's inexplicably not a major star, and Guillermo Diaz as La Miranda, a not-as-tough-as-she-pretends-to-be drag queen. Its La Miranda's version of things, and when she says 'we're American as apple pie' as the last line of the movie, you can't help but believe her.
Kudos to all involved. 9/10.
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