THIS YEAR I’ve reviewed half a dozen of the ten or so films that I saw in June at the Provincetown International Film Festival—not officially an LGBT film festival, but hey, it’s P’town, so a fair number G&LR-worthy films were on hand. Here is the first of six:
State of Pride Directed by Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman
Here we are fifty years after Stonewall, attending Pride parades and events that are bigger than ever. But does the concept of “Pride” still have the resonance and power that it once did? This documentary sets out to address this question, and—spoiler alert—it answers in the affirmative. State of Pride, which appears to be targeting a younger audience, follows the tried-and-true method of spotlighting one person in each of three cities to guide us through Pride-related events while also focusing on their life story, each characterized by great challenges and triumphs over adversity. In Tuscaloosa, Alabama, a lesbian couple that has endured all the challenges of living in the deep South celebrates the newly established Pride march in their city. In San Francisco, a
transgender person finds challenges in belonging to a minority within a minority even in one of America’s most tolerant places. In Salt Lake City, a young gay man who’s confined to a wheelchair due to a spinal injury is forced to choose between “Pride” and his Mormon upbringing, as embodied by his otherwise loving family. For those who’ve been going to these parades for decades, these declarations of “Pride” can seem a little hokey, but their sincerity is not to be gainsaid, and the film reminds us that the adoption of this word—the opposite of shame, homophobia weaponized—was a true stroke of genius.