If you’ve ever wondered what it was like to be gay in 1972, this joyful time capsule from Arthur J. Bressan Jr. (1943-1987) offers up one fabulous perspective on the time. Bressan gives us a straightforward documentation of San Francisco’s 1972 Gay Freedom Day parade utilizing simple, non-synch sound, on-the-street interviews, and joyous footage of the day.
Like Gay USA, Bressan’s subsequent feature-length documentation of the Gay Freedom Day parades of 1977, this 1972 short offers up a thrilling collective portrait of gay liberation. Ecstatic celebrants fill the streets as we hear on the soundtrack a series of vibrant interviews with attendees who speak of their lives and their loves.
The film’s rich, saturated colors vividly bring out the wild colorful costumes of San Francisco’s handsome young homosexuals who still seem fresh off the high of Stonewall just three years earlier. The concluding montage of Coming Out (set to the anthemic 1969 Beatles song, “Here Comes the Sun”) gives us an uplifting stream of beautiful, long-haired, bearded hippie queers and an optimistic sensibility for a movement that we can draw inspiration from today.
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