6.6/10
771
7 user 8 critic

Tongues Untied (1989)

Not Rated | | Documentary | July 1989 (USA)
Marlon Riggs, 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 ... See full summary »

Director:

Marlon Riggs
Reviews

On Disc

at Amazon

4 wins. See more awards »

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

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 »

Director: Isaac Julien
Stars: Ben Ellison, Matthew Baidoo, Akim Mogaji
Biography | Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A collection of vignettes highlighting different aspects of the life, work, and character of the acclaimed Canadian classical pianist.

Director: François Girard
Stars: Colm Feore, Derek Keurvorst, Katya Ladan
Documentary | Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

A short film documenting the seas and shores of the Mediterranean Sea.

Directors: Jean-Daniel Pollet, Volker Schlöndorff
The Rapture (1991)
Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

A telephone operator living an empty, amoral life finds God and loses him again.

Director: Michael Tolkin
Stars: Mimi Rogers, David Duchovny, Darwyn Carson
Animation
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.6/10 X  

New York beat cronies slumbering through Harry Smith, Burroughs and Ginsberg, University Columbia, Colombia, or the crazy is just what we need, not to "explain" tears in the fabric but to ... See full summary »

Director: Harry Smith
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

In the old days it was called hypochrondria, or black melancholia. Now, apparently, it's termed the Asthenic Syndrome. Whatever it is, Nikolai, a teacher of epicly indifferent pupils, has ... See full summary »

Director: Kira Muratova
Stars: Olga Antonova, Sergei Popov, Galina Zakhurdaeva
Zero Kelvin (1995)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Larsen, an aspiring poet in 20's Oslo, leaves his girlfriend to spend a year as a trapper in East Greenland. There he is teamed with a seemingly rough old sailor/trapper, Randbek, and a ... See full summary »

Director: Hans Petter Moland
Stars: Stellan Skarsgård, Gard B. Eidsvold, Bjørn Sundquist
Report (1967)
Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

A compilation of selected bits of archival footage put to a narration of news reports describing the day President John F. Kennedy was assassinated.

Director: Bruce Conner
Comedy | Drama | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5/10 X  

With full disturbing and weirdo graphic plus sexual scenes, Flaming Creatures is one of most daring and controversial film of all time, According to Jack Smith's Flaming Creatures is a comedy in a haunted music studio.

Director: Jack Smith
Stars: Francis Francine, Sheila Bick, Joel Markman
Documentary | Short | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A documentary short depicting a Hauka ceremony where young workers are possessed by British colonial officers.

Director: Jean Rouch
Stars: Jean Rouch
Comedy | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Take a walk into the dreamlike world of filmmaker Raul Ruiz as he takes us to Paris for a twisting ride. Four strangely symmetrical stories unfold involving love, lust, crime, and time.

Director: Raoul Ruiz
Stars: Marcello Mastroianni, Anna Galiena, Marisa Paredes
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

This film follows an antisocial working-class husband and father struggling to find work in the Midwest. As the film progresses, it seems that he has little actual interest in supporting ... See full summary »

Director: Jon Jost
Stars: Tom Blair, Wayne Crouse, Jessica St. John
Edit

Cast

Complete credited cast:
Marlon Riggs
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Michael Bell
Kerrigan Black Kerrigan Black
Blackberri Blackberri
Djola Bernard Branner Djola Bernard Branner ... (as Bernard Branner)
Ben Callet Ben Callet
Gerald Davis Gerald Davis
Kenneth R. Dixson Kenneth R. Dixson
Larry Duckette Larry Duckette
Gideon Ferebee Gideon Ferebee
Brian Freeman Brian Freeman
Gene Garth Gene Garth
Essex Hemphill Essex Hemphill
A.J. Honey A.J. Honey
Paul Horrey Paul Horrey
Edit

Storyline

Marlon Riggs, 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. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Documentary

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

July 1989 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Tongues Untied: Black Men Loving Black Men See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Signifyin' Works See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider. See more »

Connections

Featured in 50 Documentaries to See Before You Die: Episode 2 (2011) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
'I like the feeling of words doing as they want to do and as they have to do' - Gertrude Stein
14 July 2015 | by gradyharpSee all my reviews

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.


0 of 0 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 7 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page



Recently Viewed