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The Times of Harvey Milk

 
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beltmann
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Joined: 26 Jun 2003
Posts: 2341
Location: West Bend, WI

PostPosted: 04.01.2004 4:37 am    Post subject: The Times of Harvey Milk Reply with quote

I receive regular information from New Yorker Video, and this week their mailing contained the good news that 1984's The Times of Harvey Milk has been scheduled for DVD release June 1.



Harvey Milk was the first openly gay official in San Francisco. The events recounted in the documentary are more exciting, charismatic, and compelling than fiction: After 11 months in office, this energetic, enthusiastic public official was assassinated. The movie earned an Oscar for Best Feature Documentary.



More than 3 hours of bonus features are scheduled for the DVD release.



I first caught this great documentary a decade ago, on television. I've never forgotten it, and I've been trying to see it again for years. Until now, it has never been available. Has anyone else ever seen it?
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beltmann
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Joined: 26 Jun 2003
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Location: West Bend, WI

PostPosted: 06.03.2004 3:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just thought I'd pass on that the Sundance Channel has scheduled an evening showing of The Times of Harvey Milk for Saturday, June 5, 6:00 Eastern.



Eric
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Danny Baldwin
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PostPosted: 06.03.2004 10:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'll definitely tune in.
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beltmann
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Location: West Bend, WI

PostPosted: 06.03.2004 10:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi, Danny. It's actually scheduled several times throughout the month, so if you miss it check the listings!



Eric
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Danny Baldwin
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PostPosted: 06.05.2004 10:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm taping it right now. Smile
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beltmann
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Location: West Bend, WI

PostPosted: 06.05.2004 10:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Coolage. I was about to, but then I realized I'd prefer to purchase the DVD, now scheduled for release next week. Make sure you chime in with your thoughts, Danny!



Eric
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Danny Baldwin
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PostPosted: 06.23.2004 10:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I just watched it, and even though I probably wouldn't have voted for Harvey Milk, only agreeing with him on selected points, I found the film to be mostly fascinating.



In the first third, what I found perhaps the most interesting, were the parallels between local government and federal government. They may not be pointed out, but if you fill in the blanks, the contrast is quite a provocative one. How can the little guys, like Harvery Milk, break through into making the differences they see fit? In a sense, the concept of coming out, in terms of homosexuality, also applies to voicing ANY opinion in government.



During the middle, the most apparent concept is the following of Harvey Milk, and whether the display of homozexuality was, indeed, right. I'm not sure I would approve of gay men running around naked in the street. Dan White, whatever he may be worth, did make the point that straight people would be frowned upon for doing this. But, this is insignificant to the act itself. The film places a great investment into the idea that political activism has to be shocking, and that only those in strong denial could actually say that they wouldn't want something to be eye-opening (permiscuous, rude, loud, etc...). This is what wins elections, and its derived more from symbolism, and the freedom to create it, than a literal meaning. Consider Harvey's planting the dog poop on the lawn to step on it, in this context. It's a plant, but it's successful. Kind of like what Michael Moore does, sans the ignorance and offensiveness.



The last segments are what really make the documentary the memorable work that it is. They are full of irony, the aspect of the story that deserves the most exploration. First, there is the straightforward situational irony of Dan White killing the two men from such a welcome background. (I think he'd be a great subject for another film, on its own.) Secondly, the irony of the people's reaction. At first, it is peaceful; the candle-light march scenes serve as serene and powerful pieces of demonsatration. But, then, we see destruction and anger, lighting cop cars on fire and using physical violence to the point where it could be come prosecutable. This is, of course, in response to the VERY small sentence of Dan White. I think that was unjust, but was it really because people thought killing a gay man was of service? I don't think so. Some of the people director Robert Epstein talked to were peculiar choices, not exactly the best ones, but still somewhat interesting, nevertheless.



The narration can be a little preachy at times, and I thought that some of the use of news segments (aside from those that involve debate), were unnnecessary. Overall, though, the power of the experience is undeniable.
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