Screened as part of NZIFF 2014
Australian-Chinese photographer William Yang’s vividly – sometimes riotously – illustrated personal account of GLBT Sydney from the early 70s until now is set against a backdrop of the city’s Mardi Gras. A massive tourist drawcard today, it began as a defiant protest march in 1978 when a lively but long-invisible ‘alternative’ community began to demand its place in the sun. The progress of the Mardi Gras organisation, which underwent massive expansion in the late 90s then bankruptcy in the early 2000s, has reflected equally massive shifts in Australian social attitudes. Yang explains his own personal odyssey through the parades, the clubs and the parties, often hiding – to posterity’s great advantage – behind his camera. He’s an enthusiastic celebrant of bohemian splendours, but he’s equally attentive to the calamitous turning point of AIDS. This film is at its most personal when describing the loss of his best friends, artists Peter Tully and David McDiarmid, during this period. Directed and edited by Martin Fox, this is the second of Yang’s stage pieces to be adapted for the screen after last year’s not quite so gay My Generation.