Past screening

Tongues Untied

Directed by: Marlon Riggs
Year: 2023
Watch trailer


Directed by: Marlon Riggs
Year: 2023
Country: United States
Last Screened: Fri 10th Jul 2020

At a time where Black Lives Matter and intersectionality are being explored globally, we invite you to see Marlon Riggs' landmark 1989 essay, Tongues Untied.

The Homecoming: A Short Film About Ajamu / Dir. Topher Campbell / 1995 / 17 mins
By the 1980s and 90s, Brixton had acquired a fearsome reputation as home to a rebellious black presence. This tough urban image also hid a thriving gay scene and arts movement, in which young photographer Ajamu Ikwe-Tyehimba was active. This energetic film traces Ajamu’s jump from South London back to his hometown of Huddersfield, Yorkshire, for an exhibition of his work. Playing with and remixing images of black masculinity cross-cut with a “feminine gentleness”, he attempts, as sociologist Stuart Hall describes, “to transcend both”. Often explicit and very humorous, his approach is never dull, provoking controversy and shocked amusement in equal measure.

Tongues United / Dir. Marlon Riggs / 1989 / 55 mins
“A black male warrior fighting for the right to love other black men, Marlon Riggs affirms what was nearly lost, newly found: the certainty that black male lives are utterly precious.” — Alice Walker.

As conversations reverberate across the creative industries galvanized by the Black Lives Matter movement, we present a rare online screening of Tongues Untied (1989).

Cited as one of the most significant documentaries of the 20th Century, Marlon Riggs’ landmark essay film is as arresting today as it was thirty years ago, exploring what it means to be black and gay. Moving between poetry, performance and personal confession, Tongues Untied is in turn humorous, erotic and sobering, as Riggs conveys with eloquence and anger the homophobia and racism that confronts black gay men.“My struggle has allowed me to transcend that sense of shame and stigma identified with my being a black gay man. Having come through that fire, they can’t touch me.” — Marlon Riggs