6.6/10
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3 user 4 critic

Looking for Langston (1989)

A black and white, fantasy-like recreation of high-society gay men during the Harlem Renaissance, with archival footage and photographs intercut with a story. A wake is going on, with ... See full summary »

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Cast

Credited cast:
Ben Ellison ...
Alex
Matthew Baidoo ...
Beauty
Akim Mogaji ...
James
John Wilson ...
Karl
Dencil Williams ...
Marcus
Guy Burgess ...
Dean
James Dublin ...
Carlos
Harry Donaldson ...
Leatherboy
Jimmy Somerville ...
Angel
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Stuart Hall ...
British voice (voice)
Langston Hughes ...
Himself (archive footage)
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Storyline

A black and white, fantasy-like recreation of high-society gay men during the Harlem Renaissance, with archival footage and photographs intercut with a story. A wake is going on, with mourners gathered around a coffin. Downstairs is an elegant bar where tuxedoed men dance and talk. One of them has a dream in which he comes upon Beauty, who seems to reject him, although when he awakes, Beauty is sleeping beside him. His story and his visits to the jazz and dance club are framed by voices reading from the poetry and essays of Hughes and others. The text is rarely explicit, but the freedom of gay Black men in the 1920s in Harlem is suggested and celebrated visually. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

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Genres:

Biography | Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »
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Release Date:

1 October 1989 (USA)  »

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Referenced in Memories of 'The Long Day Closes' (2014) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Visually magnificent poetic film essay.
12 May 1999 | by See all my reviews

Issac Julien's incredibly lush visual exploration of the idea of Langston Hughes' sexuality. In this film Julien creates a space of queer liberation around an African-American literary icon. Julien stated in an interview with the great poet Essex Hemphill (whose writing is used as text in the film) that he sought to "construct a narrative that would allow viewers to meditate and to think, rather than be told." This is exactly what is accomplished in this profoundly beautiful and intellectually thrilling short film.


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