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RIGHTS AND REACTIONS

USA, 1987 (MIFF 1988, Documentary)

Director: Phil Zwickler

This explosive one hour documentary gives air to various positions on a topical, contentious issue the legal and civil rights of lesbians and homosexual men. Against the mounting concern and irrevocable, world-wide tragedy arising from the AIDS crisis and within the specific context of a historic New York City Council Hearing on the passing of a Gay Rights Bill, Rights and Reactions captures some stirring political and emotional moments in the ongoing debates that revolve around the civil rights question.

Arguments for and against different aspects of gay rights are voiced both in front of an official microphone within the hallowed NY City Council chambers, and also more informally from the street outside. It's the latter arena that possibly provides the most interest in that it s here where we witness powerful expressions of deeply entrenched feelings. In the end a certain civil restraint is seen to prevail but only just. The result, which is a victory for the pro-gay lobby, is at best, tenuous since Bills can always be revoked and, regardless of City Hall, you can't fight the pernicious effects of long-standing prejudices - P.K.

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