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Public Program

'Reggie – His Last Year' 1998, Compilation by W. Schreiber, 70 minutes
Featuring: Kwanzaa 1997, Reggie's last public appearance at a book presentation, Gay Pride Canal Parade in the summer of 98, 'The Wedding' - Legal partnership registration, October 1998, and more glimpses of our life in Amsterdam -filmed by Reggie himself, André Reeder, Wolfgang Schreiber, Gilbert Francourt and others.
You can watch the film at > Amsterdam Videos

Retrospective of Films by Marlon Riggs  

Hosted and sponsored by Black Brothers Esteem.

Discussion after the screening facilitated by Kaya Nati, Black Brothers Esteem.
No Regret (Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien), 38 minutes, 1992 (featuring Reggie Williams, Assoto Saint and others)
In ”Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien” (No Regret) (1992), the title reflects the attitudes of five HIV-positive Black men. Based on a mix of interviews and poetry, Marlon allows the men to tell their stories: discovering their seropositive status, breaking the news to their mothers, finding support and rejecting the stigma that comes with AIDS. Singer Linda Tillery and musician Blackberri provide a superb and moving soundtrack. > Frameline
(...) First his camera and sound people arrived at about 9:30-9:45, came in and began to set-up. At 10 o'clock, Marlon and Nicole, his assistant, got there. Marlon requested just a few lighting changes, then we both sat down, him directly across from me. The camera was at a slight angle so I would not be forced to look straight at it. My hands were sweating and wet. He told me, "Just relax, and we'll talk." (...)
Reggie Williams, 1996

Ethnic Notions, 1987 • USA • 57 min.
"Ethnic Notions" is Marlon Riggs' Emmy-winning documentary that takes viewers on a disturbing voyage through American history, tracing for the first time the deep-rooted stereotypes which have fueled anti-black prejudice. Through these images we can begin to understand the evolution of racial consciousness in America. More> 

Affirmations 1990 • USA • 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. > Frameline


Anthem, 1991 • USA • 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. > Frameline


Tongues Untied
, 55 minutes, 1989
This is the acclaimed account of Black gay life by Emmy Award-winning director Marlon T. Riggs. Using poetry, personal testimony, rap and performance (featuring poet Essex Hemphill and others), Tongues Untied describes the homophobia and racism that confront Black gay men. > Trailer

Color Adjustment 1991 – USA – 88 min.
Producers: Marlon Riggs, Vivian Kleiman
Director: Marlon Riggs
Narrator: Ruby Dee

Color Adjustment traces 40 years of race relations through the lens of prime time entertainment, scrutinizing television's racial myths and stereotypes. Narrated by Ruby Dee, the 88 minute documentary allows viewers to revisit some of television's most popular stars and shows, among them Amos and Andy, The Nat King Cole Show, I Spy, Julia, Good Times, Roots, Frank's Place and The Cosby Show.(…)
As engaging as it is perceptive, Color Adjustment sheds light on the racial implications of America's favorite addiction - television watching. It will help viewers reexamine America's and their own attitudes towards race. (California Newsreel)

Black Is...Black Ain't 1995 – USA - 87 minutes. Producer/Director: Marlon Riggs
Co-Producer: Nicole Atkinson
Co-Director/Editor: Christiane Badgley

Special Guest: Vivian Kleiman 
A longtime collaborator with filmmaker Marlon T. Riggs, she serves as president of the production company which they co-founded in 1991, Signifyin' Works.
The final film by filmmaker Marlon Riggs, Black Is...Black Ain't, jumps into the middle of explosive debates over black identity. Black Is...Black Ain't is a film every African American should see, ponder and discuss. White Americans have always stereotyped African Americans. But the rigid definitions of "blackness" which African Americans impose on each other, Riggs claims, have also been devastating. (More info on the website of California Newsreel)
Reggie wrote about the film:

"Black Is...Black Ain't is true to form of the genius and greatness of Marlon Riggs. It tells two stories, one about the "isms" within the community, and the journey of a Black gay man living with and dying from AIDS.
Black Is...Black Ain't dares to speak about the unspeakable within the African American community: skin color, "grade" of hair, thick or thin lips or noses. It hits hard, as all of Marlon's works have, on the need for unity and communication within the Black community. With sound bites from the "best and brightest" of contemporary African Americans, including Cornel West, Angela Davis, bell hooks, Essex Hemphill, and Barbara Smith, Black Is...Black Ain't explores both the commonalities and the singularities of African American life. Only Marlon could get away with "washing the Black community's dirty laundry in the street," something most folks' parents (my mother included) taught them they better not do. (…)

Another story within Black Is...Black Ain't is Marlon's return to his southern roots. At his grandmother's home in Texas, we watch as she prepares her specialty, gumbo.(…)

The second story Black Is...Black Ain't tells is that of a Black gay man living with, and dying of AIDS. Mid-way through the making of Black Is...Black Ain't Marlon's health took a major turn for the worse. As he struggled with the gamut of infections associated with AIDS, Marlon's vision of Black Is...Black Ain't changed. He decided to broaden the scope of the film to enable him to share his experience with the audience. He brought his crew into his hospital room to shoot some of the funniest and most poignant scenes in Black Is...Black Ain't. These scenes were the most difficult for me to see, my friend and hero slipping away.

Reggie Williams, 1996

I Shall Not Be Removed - The Life of Marlon Riggs
1996 – USA - 58 minutes
Producer/Director: Karen Everett
This loving film biography provides a fitting memorial to Marlon Riggs, the gifted, gay, black filmmaker who died from AIDS in 1994. It traces his development from a precocious childhood in the close-knit African American community of Fort Worth, Texas, through his political awakening at Harvard, to his final years as a courageous advocate for stigmatized people everywhere. Clips from all eight of Marlon's films show how he evolved a unique experimental documentary style, mixing poetry and criticism, the personal and the political.
It recounts the 'Culture War' which erupted around his autobiographical Tongues Untied and reached the Senate floor and nightly news, turning Marlon into an articulate and courageous spokesman for free expression. It also documents his long, harrowing battle against AIDS, sustained by his desire to complete his legacy to the African American community, Black Is...Black Ain't. Family, friends, students and co-workers discuss Marlon's profound impact on their lives and work. As his U.C. Berkeley colleague, Dr. Barbara Christian, observes: "Marlon opened a space in which black people in America can be represented."
(More info on the website of California Newsreel)




Subpages (1): Tongues Untied (1989)