“My strugle has alowed 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 T. Rigs 1957-1994 Anthem (USA, 1991, 9 min)
After the screening Johnnie Ray Kornegay III from The Counter-Narrative Project will share how Marlon T. Riggs affected him and his work, and how Riggs’ lifework changed the conditions for black homosexual men in the US.
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As a tribute to one of the most significant directors in the history of film Cinema Queer presents a retrospective of Marlon T. Riggs (1957-1994). Nobody had previously portrayed black homosexual identity, sexuality, and the HIV/AIDS epidemic and when Tongues United was released in 1989 it quickly cemented itself as an important part of the ongoing civil rights debate. Riggs’ films are just as current, sharp, and crucial today as when they first premiered and Cinema Queer is incredibly proud to introduce in this retrospective three of Riggs lesser known short films that were recently restored by the LGBTQ film festival Frameline in San Francisco.
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⭕️ Anthem (USA, 1991, 9 min)
Marlon Riggs’ experimental music video politicizes the homoeroticism of African-American men. With images—sensual, sexual, and defiant—and words intended to provoke, Anthem reasserts the self-evident right to life and liberty in an era of pervasive anti-gay, anti-Black backlash and hysterical cultural repression.
⭕️ Affirmations (USA, 1990, 10 min)
An exploration of Black gay male desires and dreams. Affirmations starts with an affectionate, humorous confessional and moves on to a wish for empowerment and incorporation.
⭕️ No Regret (USA, 1992, 38 min)
Through music, poetry, and quiet, at times, chilling self-disclosure, five positive Black gay men speak of their individual confrontation with AIDS, illuminating the difficult journey Black men throughout America have made in coping with the personal and social devastation of the epidemic. From panic, resignation, and silence to the discovery of the redemptive, healing power in being vocal and visible as HIV-positive Black gay men, each tells a singular and at the same time familiar story of self-transformation—a story in which a once shameful, unmentionable “affliction” is forged into a tool of personal and communal empowerment.
⭕️ Tongues Untied (USA, 1989, 55 min)
Marlon T. Riggs’ 1989 Tongues Untied uses poetry, personal testimony, rap and performance (featuring poet Essex Hemphill and others), to describe the homophobia and racism that confront Black gay men. The stories are fierce examples of homophobia and racism: the man refused entry to a gay bar because of his color; the college student left bleeding on the sidewalk after a gay-bashing; the loneliness and isolation of the drag queen. Yet they also affirm the black gay male experience: protest marches, smoky bars, “snap diva,” humorous “musicology” and Vogue dancers.
Thursday Sept 26 20:30, at Teater Tre.