beauty films
Photo: Courtesy of Strike a Pose

For the cinephile navigating the dizzying lineup at the annual Tribeca Film Festival, it helps to narrow the scope—say, road movies (Detour and Folk Hero & Funny Guy); female directors (Mother and AWOL); or, in this case, thoughtful documentaries that touch on matters of health. The six standout picks below include a portrait of the magnetic backup dancers on Madonna’s Blond Ambition tour (which invariably was touched by the AIDS crisis), an emotionally charged investigation into the struggles surrounding in vitro fertility treatments, one man’s question for happiness, and more.

Strike a Pose
The seven male dancers on Madonna’s 1990 Blond Ambition tour shaped a generation with their onstage bravura and on-camera candor in Truth or Dare, the behind-the-scenes concert doc that brought a then-rare glimpse of gay life (and one very steamy kiss) to the big screen. But as this new documentary reveals, the music’s “Express Yourself” message wasn’t so simple in that turbulent era. Salim Gauwloos, diagnosed with HIV in 1987, reveals his long-kept secret to his tour mates during an emotional reunion dinner captured in Strike a Pose; Gabriel Trupin (who died from complications of AIDS in 1995), struggled with being “outed” in the Madonna doc. If the film is a reminder of the ongoing fight for acceptance (one thinks of the controversial laws governing transgender behavior), it’s also a pure celebration of dance, with iconic vogueing interwoven with recent solos and classroom shots (you’ll find Gauwloos, who goes by the name Slam, in the studios at Broadway Dance Center and Alvin Ailey).