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Radical Light: Alternative Film and Video in the San Francisco Bay Area

Wednesday, February 9, 2011
7:30 p.m. Tongues Untied
Marlon Riggs (U.S., 1989)

Introduced by Vivian Kleiman

Director and producer Vivian Kleiman was a longtime collaborator with Marlon Riggs, with whom she founded the production company Signifyin' Work in 1991.

Tongues Untied
is about the silence that envelops the lives of black gay men. This exhilarating work is a loquacious attempt to break 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.”

• Written by Riggs, Joseph Beam, Chris Harris, Reginald Jackson, Steve Langley, Alan Miller, Donald Woods. Photographed by Riggs. With Essex Hemphill, Blackberri, Brian Freeman, Alan Miller. (55 mins, Color, DigiBeta, From Frameline)

Preceded by:
(Lynn Hershman, U.S., 1987)

Binge turns on confession and self-image, using obesity as the main course. Losing her familiar shape to overeating, Lynn Hershman occupies electronic space to announce her despair and her subsequent—and partially successful—diet. It is a fitting medium for such a declaration, for not only is much of self-identity generated by television, but shape, volume, and appearance are rendered abstract by the video effects Hershman employs.—Steve Seid

• (Edited and with special effects by Jeff Berger and Skip Sweeney, 1987, 30 mins, Beta SP, From the artist)

—Steve Seid

• Total running time: 85 mins