Wednesday, August 05, 2015

What a Riot

Roland Emmerich breaks a lot of shit in his movies. Think “Independence Day,” “The Day After Tomorrow,” “2012” and that 90s remake of “Godzilla.” Basically, if humanity is doomed on screen, Emmerich probably directed it. Consider him Michael Bay, but with less Megan Fox in daisy dukes. That last part is perhaps because he is also an out gay man. Or, again, maybe he is just too busy breaking the aforementioned shit. Still, given that fact, his interest in his small “passion project” about the Stonewall riots makes more sense. I’ve heard about his new film “Stonewall” in recent months, but haven’t seen much until now. So now we have our first trailer. And I’m not entirely sure how I feel.

Like, I get that he wanted to give the film an “accessible” narrative. Small-town boy goes to the big city to be himself and becomes part of an even big movement. But the thing about Stonewall is it was started by drag queens and trans women of color and lesbians and gay men – together – who were sick and tired of being harassed and abused by the police. And he movement included all of those people too. But from the trailer we are once again being guided through history from a white male perspective. And that, well, that is pretty disappointing. A film about such an influential and iconic historical event should make every effort be as inclusive as possible. Erasure honors no one.

But then on the other hand, despite its possibly questionable depiction of the key activists (the film is a mix of some based on real people and many fictional characters), it’s important for us to remember almost 50 years after Stonewall what helped to begin the LGBT rights movement. The equality we have today did not fall in our laps simply because of polite requests. It started as a fucking riot. It started with pushback at oppression. And, given many current parallels to civil unrest in our country, it’s wise to remember that every movement starts somewhere. And passion – often born in anger and pain and just being finally fed up at the injustice of it all– is often that spark.

So, what did you think? Gonna see it? Like its message? Wish more shit would get broken?

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Yet again, you are able to put my thoughts into words. You're amazing as always.

mel p. said...

Yes, I've been thinking the same ever since the posters were released. And right under your post in my RSS reader? "The trailer for ‘Stonewall’ has just dropped and it looks AMAZING" - a post from, you guessed it, a gay news site.

Anonymous said...

While I might have preferred the story to be told from a different point of view, the most important thing is that it get told. And if the movie is intended to go maintstream, perhaps it was a conscious choice to "help" a straight white audience to identify?

Anonymous said...

but why does this story have to be told with, if the trailers are accurate, basically no lesbians?

frizzy

pecola said...

The story isn't being told if we're engaging in erasure.

Carmen SanDiego said...

I will see it for sure but Imreally hope it has more lesbians and less corn-fed white masculine gay males.
But you know what I would really like? A Mattachine Society movie. That was such an interesting storyline in that Playboy Club show...