Tongues Untied is a documentary by Marlon Riggs that deals with the struggles urban black gay men deal with in the post-modern time period. It’s a short film, less than an hour long, but one that packs a lot within its running time. Beware, though; the film confronts its material head on, without batting an eye in any direction away from the topic at hand. If this makes you uncomfortable, take heed before you embark on this adventure.
The film immediately starts out strong, with a smattering of urban culture combined with some of the most emphatic spoken word poetry recited all over each other like a whirlwind of vernacular. It continues in this vein, barreling forward through the material without care or control, and in this lies the power of what the film conveys. The whole experience is extremely charged, and it takes its subject matter highly to heart, flitting back and forth between shots and scenes and verbal narration. This is a tapestry that is woven very intricately.
Like I said, if the content makes you uncomfortable, the film likely will too, though not in an overt way through sexual imagery. It’s more the power of what is spoken and the words used when they are used that is the crux of the film. All in all, it was definitely an interesting exploration, at least for me, and if you’re open to trying new and different things, this is definitely one to check out.
Arbitrary Rating: 8/10