‘The Stroll’ Review: Telling Their Own Stories

Kristen Lovell and Zachary Drucker’s loving portrayal of New York City’s transgender sex workers, The Stroll, presents memorable moments of candor that break documentary conventions in several moments. .

When the interviewee patrols cautiously in the middle of the conversation to ask if it’s okay to reveal explicit details about her sex work, Labelle (who is transgender and is a former prostitute himself) said, “It’s okay, miss! ‘ he replied. Later, as Labelle and Izzy, another subject in the film, walk through Manhattan’s now gentrified meat-packing district, where the two once traded, Izzy suddenly bursts into tears, in pain. I interrupted the scene by saying too much. this. I don’t like it here. “

These scenes could have ended up on the editing room floor in another documentary. Here, their appearance reinforces the novelty of “The Stroll.” This is the rare film that allows transgender sex workers to speak for themselves without purifying or sensationalizing their experience.

LaBelle’s own story echoes the stories of many of her interviewees, including socialite icon Egypt Rabeijah and activist Seyen Drosho. (Transgender artist and activist Drucker remains behind the camera.) Labelle arrived in Manhattan as a teenager in the 1990s, seeking an escape from the harsh life at home in Yonkers, but she started working at a coffee shop when she was laid off. she is in transition. So she turned to her “walk”. The stretch of West 14th Street, cut through the blood-splattered butcher district, provided a haven for roaming gay and transgender prostitutes. This allowed LaBelle and her colleagues to not only earn a living, but also find a community, and even a kind of family.

LaBelle, who took on storytelling after appearing in a 2007 documentary, recounts brutality and instability, along with Drucker, and gleams of joy, jokes, and sorority. I collect interviews and archival images. What unfolds is the micro history of New York. From the early gay rights movement of the 1970s (which often excluded transgender people) to the broken window policies of the 90s to the economic impact of 9/11, Michael Bloomberg’s election as mayor in 2002 Gentrification began sweeping the city when it took office.

Cities seemed to some to be safer, prettier and more prosperous, but the most vulnerable residents paid a high price. “I can’t believe how many times I had to go to jail to build Highline Park,” Lovell said with a wry smile. But if The Walk is both an indictment and an ode, it is also a remarkable record of the self-determination of women and workers who have learned to protect themselves and each other in the face of the worst of circumstances. But also.

Unrated. Running time: 1 hour 24 minutes. Look at Max.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button