Even as "Milk" was still playing last night at its Castro Theater world premiere I started getting text messages from friends asking me about the movie. Clearly Gus Van Sant's look at the life of the iconic activist is anticipated, particularly in the gay community. And with Proposition 8 looming here in California, the film is even more timely than could have been anticipated.
Responding to friends last night and writing about the film for iW today, I used the following words to describe "Milk": activist, historical, overt, hopeful, direct, angry. "Milk" will resonate with gay audiences and challenges notions of identity, community and history. It's also aimed at provoking not just tolerance but acceptance among straight viewers. The film is at times over the top and sentimental, but also incorporates striking storytelling techniques that fuse narrative and doc approaches.
Ultimately, "Milk" is really about social change and activism. Leaving the screening with friends last night, many of us argued that it should be seen before Election Day. But, viewed after Election Day Harvey Milk's story will take on a new resonance, either underscoring a moment of euphoria or inspiring a spirit of protest and a path for resistance.
Six days to go.
[photo by eugene hernandez]