Before Stonewall: The Making Of A Gay And Lesbian Community

"Excellent"

Before Stonewall: The Making Of A Gay And Lesbian Community Review


Re-released to tie in with its 25th anniversary, the most striking thing about this film is how revelatory it is, tracing the history of gay activism. Not only are these stories we never hear about, but America has clearly taken a giant step backwards on this human rights issue.

Most people believe that the gay movement began with the 1969 Stonewall riots, when New Yorkers finally fought back against the violence and discrimination of the local police. But this film goes much further back to document the changing attitudes toward homosexuality over the previous century, from the free acceptance of the 20s to the violent reactions of the 50s and 60s that sparked the Civil Rights movement and then the events at Stonewall.

Schiller and crew compile the film from a remarkable range of sources, including clips from silent movies, expert interviews, vox pops and personal memories from men and women of various racial backgrounds. The clips are lively and often very funny, especially a hilarious reunion of regulars from the legendary Black Cat club. As it progresses the film outlines some pretty jaw-dropping facts, most notably how World War II drastically altered American attitudes toward gender, as women found independence from the servitude that was born during the Industrial Revolution.

This led to a conservative reaction in the 1950s: McCarthyism was only one aspect of the purge of all people who were considered subversive. But even during this period, people stood up to the authorities. For example, the WAC Johnnie Phelps, who challenged President Eisenhower over his anti-lesbian policies. And it's not surprising that battles heated up at the same time over equality for women, ethnic minorities and homosexuals.

Schiller notes that while researching the film, she found material not filed under "homosexuality" but under "perversion". And it's fascinating to see how optimistic her film is. Stonewall is portrayed as the "we've had enough" moment when a whole community stood up and demanded fair treatment. And the film carries a definite sense that the struggle is already over. In 1984. Although we know 25 years later that real equality is still a dream.



Facts and Figures

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Cast & Crew

Director: Greta Schiller

Producer: Greta Schiller

Also starring:

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

Contactmusic 2017 Exclusive

New Movies

Beauty And The Beast Movie Review

Beauty And The Beast Movie Review

This remake of Disney's 1991 classic is remarkably faithful, using present-day digital animation effects to...

The Salesman Movie Review

The Salesman Movie Review

Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi won his second Oscar with this astute drama which, like 2011's...

Get Out Movie Review

Get Out Movie Review

Leave it to a comedian to make one of the scariest movies in recent memory....

Personal Shopper Movie Review

Personal Shopper Movie Review

After winning a series of major awards for her role in Olivier Assayas' Clouds of...

Certain Women Movie Review

Certain Women Movie Review

In films like Wendy and Lucy and Meek's Cutoff, writer-director Kelly Reichardt has told sharply...

Kong: Skull Island Movie Review

Kong: Skull Island Movie Review

After the success of 2014's Godzilla reboot, the Warner Bros monsters get their own franchise,...

Viceroy's House Movie Review

Viceroy's House Movie Review

Filmmaker Gurinder Chada (Bend It Like Beckham) draws on her own family history to explore...

Advertisement
Trespass Against Us Movie Review

Trespass Against Us Movie Review

With an extra dose of attitude and energy, this Irish comedy-drama hits us like a...

Logan Movie Review

Logan Movie Review

Hugh Jackman returns to his signature role one last time (so he says), reuniting with...

Patriots Day Movie Review

Patriots Day Movie Review

The third time's a charm for Mark Wahlberg and director Peter Berg, who previously teamed...

A Cure for Wellness Movie Review

A Cure for Wellness Movie Review

It's no surprise that this creep-out horror thriller is packed with whizzy visual invention, since...

It's Only the End of the World Movie Review

It's Only the End of the World Movie Review

At just 27 years old, Canadian filmmaker Xavier Dolan has an almost overwhelming set of...

Hidden Figures Movie Review

Hidden Figures Movie Review

This film recounts such a great true story that we don't mind the fact that...

The Founder Movie Review

The Founder Movie Review

This is the story of Ray Kroc, the man who created the concept of McDonald's....

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.