"ON THIS ANNIVERSARY OF STONEWALL, I ASK MY GAY SISTERS AND BROTHERS TO MAKE THE COMMITMENT TO FIGHT. FOR THEMSELVES, FOR THEIR FREEDOM, FOR THEIR COUNTRY… WE WILL NOT WIN OUR RIGHTS BY STAYING QUIETLY IN OUR CLOSETS…WE ARE COMING OUT TO FIGHT THE LIES, THE MYTHS, THE DISTORTIONS. WE ARE COMING OUT TO TELL THE TRUTHS ABOUT GAYS, FOR I AM TIRED OF THE CONSPIRACY OF SILENCE, SO I’M GOING TO TALK ABOUT IT. AND I WANT YOU TO TALK ABOUT IT. YOU MUST COME OUT." - Harvey Milk
Looking for more perspective in life, Harvey Milk and his partner Scott Smith decided to relocate from New York to San Francisco, where they found a small business, Castro Camera, in the heart of a working-class neighborhood that was soon to become a haven for gay people from around the country. With his beloved Castro neighborhood and beautiful city empowering him, Harvey surprises Scott and himself by becoming an outspoken agent for change, seeking equal rights and opportunities for all, and his great love for the city and its people brings him backing from young and old, straight and gay, alike – at a time when prejudice and violence against gays was openly accepted as the norm (“If homosexuals are allowed their civil rights, so would prostitutes, or thieves, or anyone else” – Anita Bryant.) Harvey Milk plunges headfirst into the choppy waters of politics. Mentoring young street activist and bolstered with humor, his actions speak even louder than his gift-of-gab words, gaining him fame all across the city and beyond.
While involving himself more and more in politics, becoming a living symbol of hope, Harvey sees himself drifting away from his life partner Scott. While making his fourth run for public office, he takes on a new lover, Jack Lira. Milk’s latest campaign is a success, as he is elected supervisor for the newly zoned District 5. Harvey serves San Francisco well while lobbying for a citywide ordinance protecting people from being fired because of their orientation – and rallying support against a proposed statewide referendum to fire gay schoolteachers and their supporters; he realizes that this fight against Proposition 6 represents a pivotal precipice for the gay rights movement. At the same time, the political agendas of Milk and those of another newly elected supervisor, Dan White, increasingly diverge and their personal destinies tragically converge. Gay Rights Activist. Friend. Lover. Unifier. Politician. Fighter. Icon. Inspiration. Hero. Harvey Milk’s life changed history, and his courage changed lives, including his own that came to such an untimely and tragic end.
MILK is a film about the raise and fall of Harvey Milk, a man with a vision that is, unfortunately, still unfulfilled, even though we are definitely slowly getting closer. Gus Van Sant is the responsible director for this moving portrait of a man who stood, and still stands, for hope, no only for homosexuals, but for all minorities in our society. Sean Penn was given the opportunity to bring this man back to life, which he has done in a way that lifts this actor to a whole new level of genius. And he couldn’t have done it without the support of Emile Hirsch, James Franco and Josh Brolin, an extraordinary group of young actors.
MILK opened in American theaters in November 2008, is now available worldwide, and is a film of historical proportions that can not be missed. Last Sunday MILK won two Oscars in the 81st Anual Academy Awards (best actor in leading role and best original screenplay) out of 8 nominations. –B-