Looking for Langston (1989)

Looking for Langston (1989)

Looking for Langston (1989)
DVD9 | VIDEO_TS | PAL 4:3 | 00:44:42 | 5,11 Gb
Audio: English AC3 2.0 @ 192 Kbps | Subs: English SDH
Genre: Biography, Drama

Director: Isaac Julien
Writer: Isaac Julien (screenplay)
Stars: Ben Ellison, Matthew Baidoo, Akim Mogaji

Artistically envisioned and lovingly done, Looking for Langston is an exploration of the life and consequences of late African-American poet Langston Hughes. It is impossible to tell Hughes' story without delving into the social atmosphere in which he thrived. The Harlem Renaissance was in full swing when Hughes found his voice. He represented the unabashed energy of the Cotton Club and the emerging tone of beat poetry. Filmmaker Isaac Julien fuses together a multitude of images to create a patchwork of impressions about the changing gay culture. Archival footage and a jazz soundtrack breathe life into this documentary journey. Looking for Langston has become a favorite within the gay community for its willingness to examine the viewpoint including sexuality and the black experience.


Looking for Langston (1989)

Writer-director Isaac Julien describes Looking for Langston as neither documentary nor narrative, but a meditation on the gay black American poet Langston Hughes and the repressed lives of similar artists, as lived beyond the public gaze.

Looking for Langston (1989)

The film's opening is strikingly bold, starting with the words from Hughes' memorial mass over an image of the dead artist in his coffin (played by Isaac Julien himself). This emphasises the personal nature of the film, establishing Julien as a gay black artist in his own right, echoing the words of his predecessor when he states, "We build our temples for tomorrow, strong as we know how, and we stand on top of the mountain free within ourselves".

Looking for Langston (1989)

We then follow the camera into the underworld of all male, mainly black homosexual Harlem society from the 1920s to the 1950s and beyond.

Looking for Langston (1989)

From snippets of written and spoken texts such as "homosexuality was a sin against the race so it had to be kept secret even if it was a widely shared one," Julien marries images of documentary footage seamlessly with reconstructed party scenes, and fleshed-out interpretations of Hughes' and other writers' work, illuminating the large part played by the artists' sexuality, all presented in grainy black and white.

Looking for Langston (1989)

Colour is effectively provided by the individual voices - Bruce Nugent's justification of closeted lives, Essex Hemphill's uncompromisingly visceral poems, James Baldwin's lyrical sensitivity and Langston Hughes' song-like verse - with Julien's images providing a personal interpretation of each artist's voice.

Looking for Langston (1989)

Looking for Langston is a mood piece that gives a full flavour of what it is like to have lived a closeted and yet strangely public life as a black gay artist. It is a celebration of brave men, holding them up in an unapologetically heroic light.

Looking for Langston (1989)

Special Features:
- Commentary by Director/Writer Isaac Julien and Director of Photography Nina Kellgren
- Portrait in Blue : Essex Hemphill Short Film (04:43)
- First and Last Words Radio Programme (30:11)
- Three Photo Galleries

All Credits goes to Original uploader.


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