Tongues Untied

1989

Documentary

177
Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 100%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 87%
IMDb Rating 7.1 10 1

Synopsis


Downloaded times
October 10, 2021

Director

Cast

Michael Bell as Self
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
506.69 MB
1280*720
English 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
55 min
P/S N/A / N/A
938.14 MB
1920×1080
English 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
55 min
P/S N/A / N/A

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by jboothmillard 5 / 10 / 10

Tongues Untied

It took me a long time to find this short documentary film, I was most keen to see it because of its inclusion in the book 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die, and the subject matter sounded most interesting. Directed by African-American, homosexual filmmaker Marlon Riggs (who tragically died of AIDS in 1994, aged 37), this film examines and celebrates black men loving black men as a revolutionary act. With the help of many gay black men, the film intercuts between various these men, discussing their experiences, and reciting original poems, and footage of the gay men creating original dance and mime routines. The men freely express their camp and vibrant personalities, including their love for fashion and dressing in women's clothing, they discuss homosexual acts and love making, phone lines and group activities, describe kissing, talk about stereotyping and derogatory name-calling, their anger about racism, bigotry and homophobia, and explain finding themselves. Aside the men talking and reciting poems, the film also sees original song and dance routines and group activities, including a snap dance (clicking fingers), rapping, a group in a gay club and a barbershop quartet. There is also archive footage of related subjects, for and against the argument, including gay anthems, religious sermons, Eddie Murphy doing stand-up, gay propaganda, protests, Martin Luther King campaigning for equal rights and much more. It is a fascinating film in many ways, it certainly works as a personal, positive and passionate plea to end racism and homophobia, and to increase tolerance and "brother to brother" unity, it's poetic, chaotic and controversial, but I'm glad I watched it, an interesting documentary. Worth watching!

Reviewed by gradyharp 10 / 10 / 10

'I like the feeling of words doing as they want to do and as they have to do' - Gertrude Stein

Documentaries, well timed, make a difference. Especially when they are of the quality of this 1989-91 documentary about black men loving black men. TONGUES UNTIED was written and directed and narrated by Marton Riggs who with assistance from other gay Black men, especially poet Essex Hemphill, celebrates Black men loving Black men as a revolutionary act. The film intercuts footage of Hemphill reciting his poetry, Riggs telling the story of his growing up, scenes of men in social intercourse and dance, and various comic riffs, including a visit to the "Institute of Snap!thology," where men take lessons in how to snap their fingers: the sling snap, the point snap, the diva snap. The film closes with obituaries for victims of AIDS and archival footage of the civil rights movement placed next to footage of Black men marching in a gay pride parade. The film is a lyrical exploration of black gay identity in the United States. Made during a historical period marked by the onset of the AIDS crisis, the works navigate desire, love, loss, and mourning to engage and question sexual and political repression, expression, and deviation. Riggs's stories are fierce examples of homophobia and racism: the man refused entry to a gay bar because of his color; the college student left bleeding on the sidewalk after a gay-bashing; the loneliness and isolation of the drag queen. The stories also affirm the black gay male experience: protest marches, smoky bars, snap divas, humorous musicology, and vogue dancing. It is as timely today as it was in 1991 when it was aired on PBS, setting off a wild debate about the National Endowment for the Arts funding for art with nudity, gay themes, and pointed political commentary. Impressive and important.

Reviewed by Polaris_DiB 10 / 10 / 10

The only revolution

In the late 80s and early 90s, a lot of experimentation occurred with movies that attempted to speak out for "marginalized voices", a media theory that concerns the disruption of the upper-middle class heterosexual white man with a wife and 2.5 kids motif of our Western hegemony. Most of these movies, I'm sorry to say, are only interesting to the audiences of which it reflected, and some of them went as far as to create reversal stereotypes by pretty much assuming that upper-middle class heterosexual white men with wives and 2.5 kids should feel guilty or punishable for what they've done to these "subjugated classes". Unfortunately for Marlon Riggs, his documentary "Tongues Untied" is part of the genre, but fortunately, his is a beautiful and poetic creation of it. "Tongues Untied" is about being black and homosexual, which is in fact a complicated thing because being homosexual is especially difficult for someone who is black, as one of the unfortunate side-effects of our history between "blacks and whites" (arbitrary, and yet designed) is the feeling of emasculation. Thus, being a gay black man means that one is torn along a racial standpoint and a sexuality standpoint, and that the one also causes conflict with the other. Thus, when initial audiences were offended that Riggs didn't lay more blame on some particular aspect of society during the movie's release in festivals, they weren't getting the point. Riggs' creation is the projection of himself, his desires, history, motivation, fear, anger, love, sexuality, culture, and humor, onto the screen, and other standpoints or antagonistic standpoints would only serve to destroy the wholeness he finally built within himself. Tongues Untied's theme of "black men loving black men is the only revolutionary experience" doesn't mean that if we want a new revolution, black men need to go out and start having sex with each other, it's that that's Rigg's revolutionary thought for himself--it could have been easier stated "Being yourself is the only revolutionary experience", except that that approach is way too PC and vague to account for the unification of Riggs' experience. The whole film, then, is an attempt to build towards that thesis. --PolarisDiB

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