African American gay men -- Civil rights -- Race relations, African American gay men -- Race identity, African American gay men -- Sexual behavior, Racism -- United States

Tongues Untied

  • Introduction by

    Damon Young is an assistant professor of French and film & media at UC Berkeley.


Essex Hemphill, Blackberri, Brian Freeman, Alan Miller,

This exhilarating work breaks free of the homophobia and racism that mute the possibilities for human fulfillment. Marlon Riggs creates a poetic pastiche that has the emotional uplift of gospel music and the sobering impact of reportage. The words of gay poets, personal testimony, rap tableaux, dramatic sequences, and archival footage are woven together with a seductive palette of video effects. Riggs dared to speak the words that would conjure a life into being: “Black men loving black men is the revolutionary act.”

  • Marlon Riggs
  • Marlon Riggs
Print Info
  • Color
  • DCP
  • 55 mins
  • Frameline Distribution

CineFiles is an online database of BAMPFA's extensive collection of documentation covering world cinema, past and present.

View Tongues untied documents  

Tongues untied (program note), Harvard Film Archive, 2005

Marlon Riggs: 10 years after (program note), San Francisco International Lesbian and Gay Film and Video Festival, 2004

Tongues untied: 10th anniversary screening and panel discussion (program note), San Francisco International Lesbian and Gay Film and Video Festival, Karl Bruce Knapper, 1999

Tongues untied (distributor materials), Frameline Distribution, 1996

Marlon Riggs: identity and ideology (article), Persistence of Vision, Janet K Cutler, 1995

Tongues untied (credits), Frameline Distribution, 1993

Tongues untied wins L.A. critics' award (press release), Frameline Distribution, Mark Finch, 1991

Interview with Marlon Riggs: listening to the heartbeat (interview), Jump Cut, Julia Lesage, 1991

Tongues untied (program note), London Film Festival, Vito Russo, 1990

[Tongues untied] (press release), Frameline Distribution, Mark Finch, 1990

Displaying 10 of 13 publicly available documents.

View all Tongues untied documentation on CineFiles.

Followed By

Take This Hammer

Richard O. Moore, United States, 1963

Richard O. Moore and the KQED mobile film unit documented James Baldwin’s visit to San Francisco in 1963. Accompanied by Youth for Service Executive Director Orville Luster, Baldwin meets with community leaders as he seeks to discern “the real situation of Negroes in the city as opposed to the image San Francisco would like to present.” His conversations with the black youths he encounters provide just that, as they describe their frustrations with structural racism manifest in substandard housing, segregation, and lack of opportunity. Baldwin concludes, “There is no moral distance . . . between the facts of life in San Francisco and the facts of life in Birmingham. Someone’s got to tell it like it is. And that’s where it’s at.”

Kate MacKay

  • Irving Saraf
Print Info
  • B&W
  • DCP
  • 59 mins
  • San Francisco Bay Area Film and Television Archive
  • WNET