Critic's Choice Spotlight: Jen Johans • Documentary
Alliance of Women Film Journalists Selection! Read an excerpt from Pam Grady's AWFJ review: "Punk rock met political activism when Rock Against Racism rose up in Britain, pushing back at the rise of racism, xenophobia, and the far-right National Front movement in the 1970s. It might seem like ancient history but in Rubika Shah’s electrifying 2019 documentary, an organization defunct since the early 1980s feels more vital than ever. In our own age of creeping fascism, it imparts lessons about pushing back against the darkness. History is not dead in Shah's telling, but part of a continuum and what transpired four decades ago impacts our lives even now."
Britain, late-1970s. Punk is exploding. The country is deeply divided over immigration with the National Front, a far-right political party, gaining strength. Outraged by this xenophobic agenda and a racist speech from Eric Clapton, music photographer Red Saunders teams up with like-minded creatives to form Rock Against Racism. Focusing on issues that the mainstream British media ignores, the RAR zine challenges the status quo and sparks a grassroots youth movement that The Clash, Steel Pulse and other top punk bands jump on board.
Winner of the Grierson Award for Best Documentary at the BFI London Film Festival, WHITE RIOT also earned a special mention from the Generation 14plus Jury at the Berlinale. Rolling Stone's David Fear called it "Incendiary...A pitch-perfect, punk AF documentary [that] doubles as a contemporary call to arms."
DIRECTED BY RUBIKA SHAH
UNITED KINGDOM | 2019 | ENGLISH LANGUAGE