[ONE WEEK ONLY] Jamie Kastner’s cheeky documentary claims to tell a secret story, stripping away disco’s psychedelia to reveal the politics beneath the mesmerizing beats. Disco, Castner argues, was not just about trippy aesthetics, dance parties and checking your mind at the door: It was also a statement of protest, an argument for the liberation of women, blacks and gays. Take Donna Summer’s 1975 song “Love to Love You Baby”—the extended track ran nearly 17 minutes and featured Summer moaning and groaning erotically. “It was a 20-minute multiorgasm on record,” says historian and cultural critic Alice Echols, “intended not only for extended dancing, but extended lovemaking.” In a time when women were protesting three-minute sex, this was a feminist critique in musical form. But while The Secret Disco Revolution
contends that we owe much to disco’s progressive artists, Castner undercuts his argument with strangely ominous voice-over narration and campy re-enactments, in which actors dressed in outrageous disco gear do the Hustle. With some sweet flashback footage of ’70s dance clubs, the film is nostalgic with a fresh perspective, but still not as revolutionary as the title promises.
Clinton Street Theater. 7 pm Friday-Thursday, June 28-July 4