How experimental documentaries can be considered a documentary film: the usage of reenactment and voice-over in Tongues Untied

topic: How experimental documentaries can be considered a documentary film: the usage of reenactment and voice-over in Tongues Untied
This paper will discuss how experimental documentary can be regarded as a documentary genre, with Tongues Untied (1989) as the object of analysis and research. Tongues Untied is a documentary known for conveying topics such as “Black-on-black homophobia,” “white racism,” and the Lived experience of AIDS among gay black men with experimental visual and audial (such as the reenactment of the phone-sex scene and repeating phrase voice-over), also, non-linear narrative as its primary structure. Tongues Untied interspersed with poetry from Essex Hemphill and Joseph Beam, Soul music, Vogue dancing, the performance of snapping expression, and archive footage of protest and police discrimination to capture the diversity of black gay life experiences in the United States. The unique usage of reenactment scenes and the penetration of voice-over throughout the film Intrigue me to argue the reliability of the film’s disruptive narrative style as a documentary film. This paper would also emphasize exploring what value director Marlon Riggs wants to convey to his primary audience through these highly poetic and expressive scenes. This paper will take Dirk Eitzen’s “When is a Documentary?: Documentary as a Mode of Reception” and the concept of “the four fundamental tendencies of documentary” and “the four functions as modalities of desire” that Michael Renov mentioned in “Toward a poetics of Documentary” as the examine how Tongues United’s poetic reenactment scenes and artistic voice-over features fit what it takes to be a documentary. In addition, this paper will also refer to the chapter “Dark and Lovely Too: Black Gay Men in Independent Film” in “Queer Looks” to articulate how this very first black independent production publicly addresses the black homosexuality experience. And, taking this notion into account to comprehend the influence of this film on the public.