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Tribeca Film Festival 2016 - "Strike A Pose" Review

We all know the iconic Madonna’s blonde ambition world tour and its polemical documentary, 1991’s Truth or Dare. But, who are the back-up dancers that accompanied and supported her and where are they now?

Strike a Pose isn’t about Madonna, it’s about the male dancers Kevin, Oliver, Luis, Carlton, Jose, Gabriel, and Salim; a diverse, impressionable group of young people whose lives were forever changed.

This documentary, from directors Ester Goul and Reijer Zwaan, revisits the performers, after years apart, providing viewers a chance to learn more about the emotional truth behind the stage and their individual struggles after the tour.

The first part of the documentary sets up how these seven young dancers, barely in their twenties, joined the famous pop star on her most controversial tour, with on stage uses of sexuality and religion, complete with the dancers journey through the film Truth or Dare. With Madonna’s motherly instinct towards her six gay dancers, plus straight Oliver, the star used the film to proclaim her viewpoint on gay rights, freedom of expression and the fight against AIDS. Tabloid accusations of obscenity and blasphemy at various times, she is seen on TV shrugging, “If you keep putting something in someone’s face, then maybe they can eventually come to terms with it.” She’d lost a lot of friends to AIDS and her gay-positive, pro-safer-sex viewpoint was definitely sincere. Truth Or Dare became cutting-edge with the famous scene of two guys kissing passionately. Even today the dancers receive thank you correspondence from people around the world, how the film changed their lives.

Despite the dancers becoming a symbol of freedom of expression and portraying that on stage, they weren’t living it. Gabriel wasn’t proud of being gay at all. After failing to persuade Madonna to cut out the kissing scene that would ‘out’ him to his family and friends, he filed a lawsuit against her. A few years later at age twenty-six, he died of AIDS. He wasn’t the only one that was silent, several others were already dealing with being HIV-positive. Twenty-Five years later, these men tell us how hard it has been to live the once glamorous facade. Drug addiction, alcoholism, depression, even homelessness were among their struggles.

In Strike A Pose they share their incredible stories and confessions, the fear of people’s judgments that held them back. The documentary inspires and shows what does it really take to fully reveal one’s true self.

--

Review by L. Fietz

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About Tribeca Film Festival


Online Dailies Coverage of the Tribeca Film Festival, April 17-28, 2013

 

The Tribeca Film Festival brings together local, national, and international talent to provide the New York City, downtown community with five days of screenings, educational workshops, and various special events.
Live coverage with dailies from Lia Fietz, Suzanne Lynch, Claus Mueller, Maria Esteves 

 


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