7.7/10
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Ptown Diaries (2009)

Chronicling the amazing history of Provincetown a small Ma. town where the pilgrims first landed to the present day Gay Mecca. Ptown diaries weaves the story of the New England Yankees, ... See full summary »

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Cast

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Michael Cuniningham
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DeLaria
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(archive footage)
Steven Polito ...
Hedda (as Hedda Lettuce)
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Himself (archive footage)
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Storyline

Chronicling the amazing history of Provincetown a small Ma. town where the pilgrims first landed to the present day Gay Mecca. Ptown diaries weaves the story of the New England Yankees, Portuguese fisherman, bohemian artists into a single mesmerizing history. Provincetown was the first artists colony in the united states. The true beginnings of American drama took place here with the arrival of Eugene O "Neil, followed by the groundbreaking work of Tennessee Williams. Ptown diaries embraces the: the eccentric, the rich heritage, and the magnificent landscape known as "Lands End " Written by Joseph Mantegna

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freedom | small town | See All (2) »

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Documentary

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Release Date:

15 June 2009 (USA)  »

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Budget:

$350,000 (estimated)
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Interesting bits overshadowed by lousy (non-existent?) editing
10 October 2016 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This documentary covers the post-Native American history of Provincetown (Massachusetts), from the landing of the Mayflower in 1620 to the naughties. Capably narrated by Alan Cumming, "Ptown Diaries" intersperses these historical bits with interviews with local officials and non-narrated video of a handful of regular people and events.

The history and the interviews are for the most part very well done: the right length, interesting content, and so forth. I would have liked to see more about the tension between wealthy newcomers/second-home owners and those with longer ties to the community -- there was an interesting thread of homophobia/heterophobia which was a little jarring given Ptown's reputation for acceptance.

My problem with the documentary was the non-narrated video of regular people and events. These could have been even more interesting than the narrated bits if edited appropriately (and if more such people had been captured). Instead, long sequences shot in gay/lesbian bars felt interminable, and I would swear that some of this immensely tedious footage was actually repeated. The 90-minute documentary could easily have been 20 minutes shorter.

Maybe filmmaker Joe Mantegna was trying to reduce the summer tourist throng. After all, my other half said, "If that's what Ptown has become, we're never going back."


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