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Tongues Untied (18*) + introduction by Rikki Beadle-Blair and live poetry

Queer 80s

Two topless men embrace each other.

An arresting mix of documentary and performance, Marlon Riggs classic essay film is an intense, unforgettable depiction of black, gay experience in the US. 

Marlon Riggs blends archive footage into his unique, experimental film, to, in his own words, “shatter the nation’s brutalising silence on matters of sexual and racial difference”. The films shows homophobia (including a notorious routine from Eddie Murphy’s stand-up), racism in the gay community (sexualisation of the black male body by white men) and the devastation of the AIDS crisis.  

Conservative politician Pat Buchanan held the film up as an example of how its funding “glorified homosexuality” and used it to criticise President George W. Bush for ‘allowing’ taxpayers’ money to fund ‘pornographic art’. Riggs died five years after the film’s release, but his legacy lives on, and the imagery of Tongues Untied can be seen in the works of filmmakers such as Isaac Julien and Barry Jenkins.

Tagged with: Cinema Queer 80s

US 1989 dir Marlon Riggs 55 min 

Please note this film contains racist and homophobic language and depictions of racism, racist imagery and homophobia.


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‘It’s just incredible. His work is engaging, it’s so much fun, and it’s so interesting. He’s a filmmaker without obvious parallel.‘
Critic and programmer Ashley Clark on Marlon Riggs

Showing with


Marlon Riggs expresses the hopes, dreams, and desires of gay Black men in this ode to queer African American empowerment.

US 1990 dir Marlon Riggs 10 min

(Dr) Rikki Beadle-Blair MBE

(Dr) Rikki Beadle-Blair MBE is a writer, director, composer, choreographer, designer, producer and performer who also hosts UK and Manchester Black Pride every year and is a committed mentor to a great many writers, actors, composers and directors.

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