Victoria Cruz investigates the mysterious 1992 death of black gay rights activist and Stonewall veteran, Marsha P. Johnson. Using archival interviews with Johnson, and new interviews with Johnson's family, friends and fellow activists.
Catherine Shugrue Dos Santos
This is a family still coming to terms with the effects of tragedy and in the process, learning how to rebuild their shattered unit. There are surprising pieces of wisdom from these teenagers, (particularly the boy and the youngest girl), and great acts of love and courage from all. You'll come to know these people with great affection, like I did.
The documentary picks up some years after the event itself, and is more interested in slowly unraveling the effects of a close death, than hitting us over the head with the details of the suicide, as you might expect in a film, or in lesser hands. This is a filmmaker that respects the subjects she is filming, as there is nothing more painful than the sudden loss of a loved one and that pain is evident here in great volumes. It's sometimes hard to watch.
It's simply heartbreaking and you can't help but wish you could do something for them but of course, we are merely observers, yet never feeling that we are on the outside. We are involved. We care. While it's very personal, it never feels evasive, thanks to Lucy Cohen, the director, who clearly has spent a lot of time with the family and gained their trust. She's often happy to sit back and let her camera observe (she was also the videographer), occasionally prompting them with a question. Subtlety is the key here, and respect.
There's great skill here too in the editing. What a mammoth task to put together several years of filming. You can feel the narrative being crafted, yet its never contrived. Never too obvious. A lovely piece of work from a great talent.
I wish the family all the best for the future.
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