Jennie Livingston’s classic documentary is a rare groundbreaking window into the (then largely hidden) world of dancehall culture, with its eclectic cast of characters (among them Many are Black, Latino, or trans) exuding funny, wonderful spiritual insight into the challenges facing this marginalized, if forever rebellious community. Issues of race, class, poverty, violence and the devastation of the AIDS crisis are all on display in this moving tribute to those who find themselves ignored by society, but it’s the electrifying voguing scenes and breathtaking runway runway that make it Becoming a record of gay joy, as well. —LH
Looking for Langston
Akim Mogaji and John Wilson Look for Langston at .
Directed by British art-house filmmaker Isaac Julian, Finding Langston is a powerful, prismatic celebration of the irrepressible creative spirit of the Harlem Renaissance, and a window into the lives and work of a handful of queer black pioneers across America—literary history—most Notably the titular Langston Hughes, but also James Baldwin, Essex Hemphill and Richard Bruce Nugent. Dreamlike and beautifully portrayed in desire and artistic impulse, the film offers unprecedented exploration of key figures in queer history that are still often overlooked today. —LH
Torch Song Trilogy (1988)
Matthew • Broderick and Harvey Fierstein Torch Song Trilogy. Photo: Courtesy Everett Collection