Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Marlon Riggs

still of Marlon Riggs from Tongues Untied
picture of do-wop group from Tongues Untied
snap from Tongues Untied

Tongues Untied (1989) by Marlon Riggs was broadcast in the early years of public television's POV program. The film was essentially made by a one-man crew, because Riggs was the producer, director, cameraperson, and editor. He also appears in the film (top still), taking us through his personal story as a gay African American man. The span, ambition, and beauty of the film are not diminished after twenty years. Poetry and stories, dance and music, eulogies for dead friends, and observational and staged footage are at once tender, humorous, biting, and heartbreaking. The do-wop group (middle) is intercut with paraders and their detractors in one memorable sequence.
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Documentary Starts Here by Nancy Kalow is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.