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Review: Stonewall Uprising

Well-meaning but sedate look at the '60s gay-rights movement
By GERALD PEARY  |  June 15, 2010
2.5 2.5 Stars

Kate Davis and David Heilbroner, the talented indie documentarians who made last year's Waiting for Armageddon, seem confined by the strictures of PBS's long-running American Experience series in their straitlaced ode to gay liberation.

The story of how, in 1969, gays and lesbians fought the cops at Greenwich Village's Stonewall Inn — that sterling "Rosa Parks" moment when homosexuals came out of the closet and said "No" to police intimidation — is told thoroughly but without much passion, humor, rowdiness, or smut. The best parts actually come before and after the uprising. The filmmakers have uncovered a series of repulsive, hysterically homophobic documentaries produced in the 1960s, often for network television. (The 1967 Summer of Love was for heterosexuals only.)

And post-Stonewall? They take us into Central Park for the first Gay Pride March, in the summer of 1970, the most moving scene in this well-meaning but sedate documentary.

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