This listing is for the Spanish release of Stonewall from 1999, which apparently does have both English and Spanish audio, according to ebay. The film has also been released in Germany and the US, but never in the UK on DVD, which is almost criminal, it is so good.
Buyers should seek out one of these other releases by searching just for Stonewall without the names of the actors used on this listing.
The film has a remarkable warmth, both in its sympathetic look at very real situations and interspersing of the story with songs from girl-groups of the sixties, lip-synched with panache by drag queens who also have roles in the action. There are two romances, both appealing, a wonderful central character called La Miranda, and her boyfriend Matty Dean, who arrives on a greyhound bus from the Midwest, is incredibly hunky and takes a shine to her, although there is some meandering ahead ... He gets involved in the politics of the day which coincide with the Stonewall riots in 1969; the people he falls in with are much more by the books, but trying to make concrete changes. The Stonewall Inn in New York is the central location, whose owner is a closeted gay man who is dating a fierce mama-figure with a heart of gold, another of the singers, in fact, who is a hostess at the bar and looks out for all the girls, who all live by turning tricks, although this remains quite vague. It's marvellous the way this microcosm of life is shown, finding its own way to survive against impossible odds. Most of the drag queens accept their frequent humiliations at the hands of brutal police officers, but Matty Dean goes in search of more practical change ... Anyway between La Miranda's vulnerability and hurt and Matty Dean's face and totally buff rear end, the stage is set for a fantasy of cosmic proportions stuffed full of sharp observations and affirmations of otherness - it's a great film, however modest in budget and scale.
Some strange looking drag queens, but this is a very good movie. Fair amount of eye candy too. There are some funny parts but considering this is about the Stonewall Riots, or rather, one person's perspective of the riots, there are a number of serious scenes that make you wish you were there to clobber the cops yourself. Definately worth owning and watching with your friends, even straight friends.
What a wonderful film this is, giving an insight into a historic event, while the central romance has wonderful chemistry between Guillermo Diaz and Frederick Weller. Both get their characters very well, La Miranda conveying the sense of hurt she has gone through before the film starts without going into it, and Matty Dean making an excellent country-lad foil, with intellectual aspirations that lead him somewhat astray, perhaps. The lip-synching is also very well done, with adroit cutting between musical sequences and the action, and the crowd scenes are well handled. The director Nigel Finch has got round the budget limitations so well that you feel constraints have worked in the film's favour. A secondary romance, between a tough-but-kind drag queen and straight-acting bar owner, is a little underdeveloped given the way it goes, and the film doesn't quite pull off the sense of history in the making with the weight of Milk. On the other hand, it has possibly more magic, a more delightful sense of camp, and Matty Dean looks fantastic in his jeans - he really is incredibly attractive (what a bottom!), and the setting somehow accentuates it. Not that the drag queens are at all lacking in glamour ... there is a wonderful moment when a Marilyn lookalike sashays just ahead of the police with their riot shields, her manner and gestures priceless. They are also well contrasted with the more sober political types who were making tentative forays into activism prior to the riots, but were really at pains to appear as ordinary as possible. The overall picture is very colourful and vibrant, but with a sense of real pain and injustice too - a sort of double effect which is very well brought off. And for me, the constant concern not to miss a sighting of that ardent bottom, or to enjoy his beautiful face and body, enhanced the viewing experience and made it multi-layered, veering from the light to the tragic to the titillating, and certainly showing more than the two layers one might identify at a literal level ...
On a more trivial note, I don't feel the film has ever had a very good box! On VHS it had a black cover with a pair of handcuffs, and here the drag queens are not flatteringly caught and the lettering is clunky. The German edition has the two main characters in a lovely montage, and is Zone 2, with optional German subtitles, so it might be better for many buyers than the Zone 1 edition, quite apart from the much better cover design!
The cast are perfect, from the brassy latino drag lead, to the red neck-hick boy next door. The musical idents that the film uses to switch between scenes are excellent, and the spirit of the film is delivered without being preachy.
Amazon, this is not a multiregion DVD. It is region 1, as it is from America. Beware anyone like me who thinks it will play on their region 2 DVD player. That aside, I am not returning it as I can at least play it on my computer DVD player- and it is a blooming great film!