Combustible Celluloid
With: Red Saunders, Dennis Bovell, Mykaell Riley, Pervez Bilgrami, Pauline Black, Ruth Gregory, Topper Headon, David Hinds, Roger Huddle, Mick Jones, Jimmy Pursey, Tom Robinson, Syd Shelton, Paul Simonon, Joe Strummer, Poly Styrene, Gulam Taslim, Kate Webb, Lucy Whitman
Written by: Rubika Shah, Ed Gibbs
Directed by: Rubika Shah
MPAA Rating: NR
Running Time: 80
Date: 10/16/2020

White Riot (2020)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Career Opportunities

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Rubika Shah's documentary White Riot tells the story of the Rock Against Racism movement that, in the late 1970s, specifically challenged the racist National Front movement (whose agenda was to "send 'em all back to where they came from"... you can't make this junk up). The movement started as a magazine, Temporary Hoarding, interviewing punk bands like X-Ray Spex. The movement spread, in true D.I.Y. fashion, and led to a huge show, performed by a combination of punk and reggae bands like The Clash, Gang of Four, Steel Pulse, and headlined by the organization's favorite the Tom Robinson Band (known today for the song "2-4-6-8 Motorway"). Astonishingly, the movement was started after Eric Clapton expressed his support for the racists, prompting co-founder Red Saunders to write a letter that was published. (Nice goin', Eric.) Unlike so many other movies about punk rock, White Riot actually looks punk rock, with graphics that appear borrowed or homemade. The film plays some key songs from its notable bands, but it's a real shame that more footage from the concert itself existed. The film is playing in virtual cinemas, including the Roxie Theater.

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