Film Review: What You Gonna Do When the World’s on Fire?

Race relations in the United States of America are probably at their lowest levels since the Civil Rights movement during the 1950s and 1960s. 2017 was a particularly turbulent year, with murders of young black men sending shockwaves around the country. Whilst this may have only had a limited impact in many places, there was a different story in the South; where historical memories of Klan violence and slavery are still raw.

What You Gonna Do When the World’s on Fire? is the new documentary from Roberto Minervini. It focuses on those black communities which have been disenfranchised by modern America. His camera follows the oppressed and the marginalised as they go about their daily lives. Anxiety and fear are never too far away. He allows them to tell their own stories and follows the New Black Panther Party as they prepare for action.

What You Gonna Do When the World’s on Fire? is a powerful snapshot into a time when race relations in the USA remain in the balance. Some of the language used harks back to a bloody past but these communities are being decimated by a growing racism, violence and impoverishment. Whilst the lack of action from the police and authorities speaks volumes. Minervini’s documentary is a worrying peek into a society where trust has been almost terminally eroded.

What You Gonna Do When the World’s on Fire? is in cinemas from 18 October.

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