Paris Is Burning

Toronto’s Inside Out and Paradise Theatre Partner for ‘Queerly Beloved’

Toronto’s newly restored Paradise Theatre is getting a little gayer with the announcement of its new partnership with Inside Out LGBT Film Festival. The theatre will host Inside Out’s new Queerly Beloved series this March. This series precedes the 30th edition of Inside Out this summer. Queerly Beloved continues Inside Out’s mission to spotlight voices and stories from across the queer spectrum. It offers a retrospective programme of films that shaped the landscape of queer cinema alongside contemporary favourites.


Highlights in the inaugural edition of Queerly Beloved include the 1919 landmark Different from Other Countries. Richard Oswald’s silent film was the picture to feature openly gay characters. Doc fans can dress to their best and vogue in the seats with a presentation of Jennie Livingston’s groundbreaking 1990 film Paris Is Burning. The recently restored film remains unparalleled with its influential portrait of the Harlem drag ball scene. On the Canadian front, moviegoers can have a gay old time with John Greyson’s campy AIDS musical Zero Patience.


Contemporary works include an encore presentation of Barry Jenkins’ Best Picture Oscar winner Moonlight. Moviegoers who swooned for the come hither looks of Céline Sciamma’s Portrait of a Lady on Fire can catch the director’s second feature Tomboy. Finally, cinephiles who like to do it with a group can bang with the gang in John Cameron Mitchell’s controversial Shortbus. Screenings at Queerly Beloved include guest introductions and Q&As along with special events. Further details will be announced leading up to the festival.


“As Inside Out celebrates 30 years in 2020, we are in literal paradise as we launch Queerly Beloved, a co-curated series with the Paradise Theatre,” says Andrew Murphy, Director of Programming, in a statement from the festival. “The series offers a thoughtful cross section and a fabulous starting point to reflect, and celebrate queer cinema over the past 30 years and beyond!”



Jessica Smith adds, “Working with Inside Out’s programmers to select this wide-ranging list of compelling films has been a greatly fulfilling experience,” added Jessica Smith, Paradise Theatre Director of Programming, via a release. “We’re all delighted to present this season, and to (re)introduce audiences to some very special and influential queer classics.”



The full lineup for Inside Out and Paradise Theatre’s ‘Queerly Beloved’ 2020 includes:

* Synopses provided by programming team


BoundDirected by Wachowski Sisters (1996) – Double crosses and genre twists abound in this neo-noir mob caper from the Wachowski Sisters. With Jennifer Tilly, Gina Gershon, Joe Pantoliano, John P. Ryan and Christopher Meloni.


Desert HeartsDirected by Donna Deitch (1985) – This bold and beautiful tale of a budding romance was named one of the best lesbian films of all time. With Helen Shaver, Patricia Charbonneau, Audra Lindley, Andra Akers and Gwen Welles.



Different from Other CountriesDirected by Richard Oswald (1919) – A violinist falls in love with his student in this courageous silent film: the first to feature openly gay characters. With Conrad Veidt, Leo Connard, Ilse von Tasso-Lind, Alexandra Willegh, Ernst Pittschau and Fritz Schulz.


Drunktown’s FinestDirected by Sydney Freeland (2014) – Trans filmmaker Sydney Freeland’s trailblazing drama about three interconnected characters on unique paths to self-discovery. With Jeremiah Bitsui, Carmen Moore and MorningStar Angeline.


Double bill: Knife and Heart and Equation to an Unknown – French gay porn joins forces with French Vanessa Paradis in this sexy noir double bill.


Knife and Heart – Directed by Yann Gonzale (2018) – With Vanessa Paradis, Nicolas Maury, Kate Moran, Jonathan Genet and Félix Maritaud.



Equation to an Unknown – Directed by Francis Savel (1980) – With Gianfranco Longhi, Jean-Jacques Loupmon, Reinhard Montz, Éric Guadagnan and Jean Denis.


Fox and His FriendsDirected by Rainer Werner Fassbinder (1975) – Prodigious filmmaker Rainer Werner Fassbinder plays the titular Fox in this sharp social drama. With Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Peter Chatel, Karlheinz Böhm, Adrian Hoven and Christiane Maybach.


MoonlightDirected by Barry Jenkins (2016) – A groundbreaking exploration of a young Black man’s search for identity in a rough Miami neighbourhood. With Mahershala Ali, Naomie Harris, Trevante Rhodes, Janelle Monáe and Jharrel Jerome.


OliviaDirected by Jacqueline Audry (1951) – Olivia arrives at a new finishing school and is caught in the middle of an emotional turf war between two headmistresses. With Edwige Feuillère, Simone Simon, Marie-Claire Olivia, Yvonne de Bray and Suzanne Dehelly.



Paris Is BurningDirected by Jennie Livingston (1990) – A landmark documentary and cultural time capsule about the influential Harlem drag ball scene. With subjects Brooke Xtravaganza, André Christian, Dorian Corey, Paris Duprée and Pepper LaBeija.


ShortbusDirected by John Cameron Mitchell (2006) – John Cameron Mitchell’s explit, sex-positive coming-of-self dramedy stars Toronto’s own Sook-Yin Lee. With Sook-Yin Lee, Peter Stickles, PJ DeBoy, Paul Dawson and Lindsay Beamish.


TangerineDirected by Sean Baker (2015) – A transgender sex worker combs LA for her disloyal pimp boyfriend in this wild and satisfying dramedy. With Kitana Kiki Rodriguez, Mya Taylor, Karren Karagulian, Mickey O’Hagan and James Ransone.


The QueenDirected by Frank Simon (1968) – Following a 1967 national drag competition, this documentary’s cultural influence is still seen today. With Jim Dine, Jack Doroshow, Bruce Jay Friedman, Bernard Giquel and Rachel Harlow.



The Watermelon WomanDirected by Cheryl Dunye (1996) – An aspiring Black lesbian filmmaker researches an obscure 1930s Black actress in this cult favourite. With Cheryl Dunye, Guinevere Turner, Valarie Walker, Lisa Marie Bronson and Cheryl Clarke.


The Wedding BanquetDirected by Ang Lee (1993) – A fake marriage to appease visiting Taiwanese parents is the centrepiece of Ang Lee’s under-seen comedy of manners. With Winston Chao, May Chin, Ah-Lei Gua, Sihung Lung and Mitchell Lichtenstein.


TomboyDirected by Céline Sciamma (2011) – Upon arriving in a new neighbourhood, tomboy Laure is mistaken for a boy and takes the opportunity to explore. With Zoé Héran, Malonn Lévana, Jeanne Disson, Sophie Cattani and Mathieu Demy.


Wild Combination: A Portrait of Arthur RussellDirected by Matt Wolf (2008) – An inspiring documentary about enigmatic songwriter Arthur Russell, followed by a live performance of cover songs. With subjects Bob Blank, Ernie Brooks, Allen Ginsberg, Philip Glass and Steven Hall.


Zero PatienceDirected by John Greyson (1993) – This legendary “AIDS musical” brings camp, pop tunes and a discerning lens to the myth of Patient Zero. With John Robinson, Normand Fauteux, Dianne Heatherington, Richardo Keens-Douglas and Bernard Behrens


Queerly Beloved runs March 1 – 31 at Paradise Theatre.


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