PARIS IS BURNING (1990)
”You can be and do anything,” says one of the competitors when asked about the lure of the ”drag balls.” With Paris Is Burning, documentary director Jennie Livingston captures that sense of liberation, scratched from lives lived on the street in many cases. With the creativity that marks gay culture, the stars of this film are those at-risk youths — and some older veterans — who annexed a corner of harsh reality and collectively transformed it into something so fabulous that even Madonna had to copy it. Paris Is Burning is a documentary mélange of Rent meets Les Misérables meets Dynasty. And it’s beautiful.