Wednesday, December 4, 2013

840. Tongues Untied (1991)

Running Time: 55 minutes
Directed By: Marlon Riggs
Main Cast: Essex Hemphill
Click here to view the trailer


Netflix had this one on a wait, but finally broke down and shipped it to me from another facility (all the way from San Jose, CA - I'm in Pennsylvania) and I can finally check this one off the grand checklist. Of course, I'm talking about "Tongues Untied" - the ultra poetic documentary from Marlon Riggs.

It's not something that I can really write a plot synopsis on, nor something that I can write intelligently about. The film clocks in at a mere fifty-five minutes (mere chump change compared to some of the flicks I've taken in) and uses a lot of poetry to tell it's tale. Add to that clips of talking heads and some snippets from Eddie Murphy's "Raw" and "Delirious" routines that make light of homosexuals and you've got Riggs' finished product. I think it goes without saying that I'm not the core audience for this one, being neither black nor homosexual. I don't have problems with either minority and feel that a man's color is his color and his sexual orientation is his own business. However, I have to say that even at fifty-five minutes, this one had me all but staring at the clock, just wanting it to be over. I couldn't connect with it and it's obvious that this film was made for a certain audience and white straight men aren't it.

However, Riggs obviously had something to say (with help from the poetic styling of Essex Hemphill) and more power to him for making a film that obviously got noticed. I won't trash the film, for the reasons stated above: THE BOOK forced me to watch something that I don't feel I had any business watching. The film almost played out like a "black, gay men only club" and everyone else need not waste their time. And that's okay. I'm fine with the fact that Riggs' made his statements, used poetry to maximum effect and has a hit. Nuff said.

RATING: 3/10  There were a few "sit up and take notice" moments, but barely and even at fifty-five minutes, it's like doing homework.


December 4, 2013  5:27pm

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