Cast: Victoria Cruz, Marsha P. Johnson (Dragged), Sylvia Rivera (Vito)
Director: David France (How to Survive a Plague)
Screenwriter: David France (How to Survive a Plague), Mark Blane (Cubby)
July, 1992 the body of Marsha P. Johnson, figurehead of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) movement, is discovered in the Hudson River, floating, with a hole in her head. Verdict rendered: suicide.
Why would a colourful character, known for having a lust for life, with still so much to accomplish in her activism, commit suicide? Here lies the mystery.
The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson, follows Victoria Cruz, an employee of the Anti-Violence Project, New York City, as she journeys into discovering the truth behind the death of the gay icon.
Now a cold case, if suspicions are true, Marsha fell to foul play.
By talking to friends, acquaintances and witness, Cruz, traces Marsha’s steps, the days leading up to her death, in the hope of uncovering vital information that will reveal the answers.
Born Malcolm Michaels Jr. Marsha P. Johnson became the mother figure of the gay rights movement, before her untimely demise at the age of 46.
Considered pariahs by society, even today, trans murder is high, and nobody seems to care.
“Trans women are yelling out from their graves for justice, most of them were unknown, but even famous cases go cold,” says a pensive Cruz.
What I really admire about the documentary is that it’s not only a genuine investigation, but it interweaves the plight of the transgender community as well as the evolvement of the whole gay rights movement.
There’s real humanity in the film, particularly the story of activist Sylvia Rivera, who is a documentary in herself. Her tale, is one of courageousness, tragedy and hope.
The documentary demonstrates, how people will stand up for their rights, and the sacrifice they endure for liberation.
I found this documentary rewarding, because I learned so much. Not just of a movement, but of a compassionate community, and of individuals prepared to fight for justice and equality, regardless of their personal cost.
No matter our persuasion; we all have value, we all have rights, we are all precious.
Words: Claire Bueno
|Runtime: 1 hour 45 minutes||Year: 2017||Genre: Documentary, Crime||Streaming Service: Netflix UK, Netflix US|