Last week a friend of ours took us to see MILK, the film about Harvey Milk, the first openly gay man elected to office in California (and maybe the US) and the incredible impact he had. If you don't know the story it's worth reading. Harvey Milk and Mayor George Moscone were assassinated by a fellow politician, Dan White. Harvey Milk served as district supervisor for 11 months but during that time he was instrumental in increasing equality and civil rights for gay people in California, and as a result the whole of the US. Chillingly, he left taped messages to be opened in the case of his death, including the following quote:
"If a bullet should enter my brain, let it destroy every closet door" Harvey Milk
Mural by John Baden of Harvey Milk at 575 Castro Street, the former site of Milk's store, Castro Camera. Image: Wikipedia
Harvey Milk outside his camera shop after his 1977 election to the San Francisco board of supervisors. Image: UPI/Corbis-Bettmann
The film was fabulous and since they began with the ending in a fairly gentle way it wasn't too upsetting. The integration of archival footage was so well done and totally enhanced the film, rather than making it feel stop-start. Sean Penn was just outstanding as Milk, and I totally lost myself in it and him. The most upsetting part, for me, was the realisation that even after everything Milk and his friends worked for, 30 years ago, we are still having similar battles today (ie. Prop 8) which frustrates me literally to tears. However, go and see this film if you can.
Penn as Milk