On 21st August and 23rd August, Show Racism the Red Card were invited to special screenings of Kathryn Bigelow’s ‘DETROIT’ in London and Newcastle respectively. DETROIT is based on true events. Amidst the chaos of the Detroit Rebellion, with the city under curfew and as the Michigan National Guard patrolled the streets, three young African American men were murdered at the Algiers Motel.
Show Racism the Red Card staff were invited along to a special screening of the film. Below are a number of reviews from several of the campaigns staff…
Steve Goodsell, SRtRC South East Regional Manager, said;
'I have seen the film twice and the impact upon me on both viewings was the same...shock and outrage at what took place in Detroit - obviously at the murders and assaults by the Police Officers that took place in the Motel, but also the aftermath - the court case and the sheer injustice of it all. I found it hard to discuss the film immediately afterwards. A powerful production and terrific acting from a talented cast'
Helen Gray, Education Worker in the North East, said;
‘Shockingly based on true events, with fictional scenes entwined with original news footage, I found the film Detroit to be a fast paced and intense, yet extremely harrowing and sombre recreation of events at the Algiers motel in 1967. As an audience member, I felt that the dramatic hand-held camera shots made me feel like I was a witness in the room to the horrific events rather than a viewer in the cinema.’
Ged Grebby, SRtRC Chief Executive, said;
‘Congratulations to ‘DETROIT’ Director, Kathryn Bigelow on a fantastic film, I encourage everyone to go out and see it. It must be said that the film is hard-hitting, powerful and intense but it’s a must see! Myself and Show Racism the Red Card were delighted to be invited along to such a special screening of such a brilliant film. It was topped off by getting a tweet back from a member of the cast!’
Natalie Roberts, North East HBT Bullying Project Coordinator, said;
‘Hard hitting, gritty, dramatic, violent, uncomfortable, dis-jointed realism. All words that could be used appropriately in relation to Kathryn Bigalow’s most recent cinematic offering – Detroit.
Re-telling the story of the Detroit riots in July of 1967. The movie at times was hard to watch due to the nature of the scenes depicted particularly the ‘up close’ violence of the pinnacle part of the re-telling of events that occurred at the Algiers Hotel.
The subject matter seemed at times to be too large and varied for one film to be able to adequately cover, this was in part the feeling that one is left with, story threads opened but not completed, characters not explored / expanded in real depth. Limitation perhaps imposed by the limited reported facts from the incidents that occurred during the tumultuous time. This borne out with characters in the opening scenes (incident that lit the fuse for the rioting) not being followed up or followed through in the movie, at times it seemed that there were a lot of ‘also happened’ type moments which didn’t quite have coherence in relation to the rest of the story; again though, this could be due to the limited facts available from which the film-makers worked, however, there I was left with a definite feeling of ‘unfinished business’ in relation to some of the aspects.
As a movie the film was as expected shot and photographed well, the leading actors portrayed roles that were believable and true. It would be unfair critique I feel on Kathryn Bigelow to focus on her being a white director telling essentially a story heavily relating to events in a predominantly black community as this certainly is a story that needed to be told and the question remains; who else was telling it?
Still nearly 50 years exactly since these events occurred it is saddening that some of the racist views, opinions and attitudes expressed by some of those characters depicted in the film still persist and exist today; look at events recently in Charlottesville that could so easily have escalated. However, the film’s stark and very much ‘in your face’ approach to these racist attitudes brings the message strongly that this is not to be tolerated and that these attitudes must be challenged where ever encountered. So for all its potential failings in terms of character and plot exploration, the film triumphs in making the viewer uncomfortable with the imagery on screen, as this discomfort should not be forgotten and will hopefully manifest into positive action to challenge discrimination and bigoted attitudes and behaviours.’
Beth Hooper, North East Education Worker, said;
'Detroit is an unsettling and intense recreation of a fragment of 1960’s American history. Based on true events, the audience is forced to bear witness to the shocking and tragic Algiers Motel incident in July of 1967. The excellent and understated depictions of each character were elevated by a brilliant script and unnerving cinematography. The film exposes the brutal and bitter reality of racism and the devastating impact it leaves on the lives of victims. I was so moved by Detroit. I think that exposing and remembering events such as these are vital in the fight against racism.'
Everyone at Show Racism the Red Card would like to say a massive thank you to Entertainment One UK, and especially Zohreh Shahribaf, for all the support shown to the campaign.