Credit: Criterion Collection
by Shar Tan Featured Film Kicking the Canon Kicking the Canon

Paris Is Burning — Jennie Livingston

February 24, 2023

In Starboard Wine, Samuel Delany proposes that “we need images of tomorrow, and our people need them more than most.” Queer life, as it were, is simultaneously lived before and after heartbreak; the historical knowledge of queer death conditions us to anticipate the losses that have yet to come. Ironically, images of our tomorrows can only be envisioned from the quagmires of borrowed time: this paradox is what makes queer utopia an act of failure against the tyranny of pragmatism and heteronormativity. As José Esteban Muñoz writes in Cruising Utopia: “Queerness should and could be a desire for another way of being in both the world and time, a desire that resists mandates to accept that which is not enough.”

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Part of Kicking the Canon — The Film Canon.
Published as part of InRO Weekly — Volume 1, Issue 8.