Camp is notoriously tricky to pin down, and even tricker to execute. As Susan Sontag notes in her 1964 essay “Notes on ‘Camp’”, “[o]ne must distinguish between naïve and deliberate Camp. Pure camp is always naïve. Camp which knows itself to be Camp (“camping”) is usually less satisfying”. Sontag suggests that the best, most satisfying examples of camp are those that are trying to be serious. When something tries to be camp, it usually fails….
Jennie Livingston’s award-winning documentary Paris Is Burning has received a 4K restoration twenty-eight years after its initial release, and it’ll screen in select theatres across Canada throughout the year. I believe the re-release was planned in part to curate the footage, but also because the documentary is relevant as ever.