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The Signifyin’ Works of Marlon Riggs – Blu-Ray

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What our staff has to say: “A truly tremendous and important collection of the late, great Marlon Riggs’ documentaries and shorts, focusing on identity, race, sexuality, politics and death. I’ve been going through the films in this set over the summer, and they’re some of the most powerful and touching documentaries you’ll ever see. Most of them were originally broadcast on public television, but Criterion does an incredible job restoring them, making them look and feel just as urgent as documentary filmmakers who have enormous budgets, something Marlon never had. Essential viewing.” – Justin

There has never been a filmmaker like Marlon Riggs: an unapologetic gay Black man who defied a culture of silence and shame to speak his truth with resounding joy and conviction. An early adopter of video technology, Riggs employed a bold mix of documentary, performance, poetry, and music in order to confront the devastating legacy of racist stereotypes, the impact of AIDS on his community, and the very definition of what it means to be Black. Bringing together Riggs’s complete films—including his controversy-inciting queer landmark Tongues Untied and Black Is . . . Black Ain’t, the deeply personal swan song that was completed after his death at the age of thirty-seven—The Signifyin’ Works of Marlon Riggs traces the artistic and political evolution of a transformative filmmaker whose work is both an electrifying call for liberation and an invaluable historical document.



  • New high-definition digital masters of all seven films, with uncompressed monaural or stereo soundtracks on the Blu-rays
  • Four new programs featuring filmmaker and editor Christiane Badgley; performers Brian Freeman, Reginald T. Jackson, and Bill T. Jones; filmmakers Cheryl Dunye and Rodney Evans; poet Jericho Brown; film and media scholar Racquel Gates; and sociologist Herman Gray
  • Excerpts from a 1992 interview with director Marlon Riggs
  • Brief introductions by Riggs to Tongues Untied and Color Adjustment
  • Long Train Running: The Story of the Oakland Blues (1981), Riggs’s University of California, Berkeley, graduate thesis film
  • Introduction to Riggs from 2020 featuring filmmakers Vivian Kleiman and Shikeith, and Ashley Clark, curatorial director of the Criterion Collection
  • I Shall Not Be Removed: The Life of Marlon Riggs (1996), a documentary by Karen Everett that features interviews with Riggs; Kleiman; filmmaker Isaac Julien; African American studies scholar Barbara Christian; several of Riggs’s longtime friends and collaborators; and members of his family
  • English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
  • PLUS: An essay by film critic K. Austin Collins



Film Label



TagsJustin Sept 21 Staff Pick, Justin Staff Pick, Staff Pick
Stock Level Only 1 left in stock