Keep up-to-date on your favourite artists and movies, track gig and release dates, and join in the conversation.
SEARCH RESULTS FOR
Click here for a Sydney Film Festival sneak peek with Festival Director Nashen Moodley!x
review, White Riot, White, Riot, film, movie, latest movies, new movie, movie ratings, current movie reviews, latest films, recent movies, current movies, movie critics, new movie reviews, latest movie reviews, latest movies out, the latest movies, review film, latest cinema releases, Australian reviews, cinema, cinema reviews, Red Saunders, Poly Styrene, Joe Strummer, Roger Huddle, Lucy Whitman, Kate Webb, Topper Headon, Pauline Black, Mykaell Riley, Tom Robinson, Rubika Shah, Documentary, Music film rating

WHITE RIOT

★★★★

A POWERFUL STORY OF ROCK VERSUS RACISM

THEATRICAL REVIEW
LATEST REVIEWS
By Jake Watt
3rd March 2021

Until I watched director Rubika Shah's new documentary 'White Riot', I had no idea that Eric Clapton was once an avowed (rather than just a plain ol' complicit) racist.

In fact, I thought all those soulful white singers/rock 'n' rollers from England loved black men, especially those who gave birth to their beloved (and quite fruitful - especially for white men) rock music.

But, uh, not Eric Clapton.

The late 1970s in Great Britain saw the rise of both a neo-Nazi political party, The National Front, and Enoch Powell, first a Conservative Party Cabinet Minister then a member of the Ulster Unionist Party, who called for the deportation of all immigrants in Great Britain.

However, and even more unsettling for people involved in pop culture, were public statements by both Clapton and Rod Stewart supporting Powell's calls to send people of colour back to where they came from, declaring that Britain must stop itself from becoming a "black colony". It was the comments by these two establishment rock stars (and a trickle of others) which motivated the formation of the grassroots organisation, Rock Against Racism (RAR). "Bowie came up with a load of crap," one RAR founder remembers, when even The Thin White Duke started dabbling in far-right sentiment.

'WHITE RIOT' TRAILER

'White Riot' tells the story of how a group of determined - and angry - music lovers came together to form the nucleus of an organisation that helped build a grassroots network of people to combat the rise of the far right. But these folks didn't have cell phones or social media. They had to rely on armies of volunteers, flyers, and putting out fanzines about music and politics. Their cut and paste newspaper, 'Temporary Hoarding', had everything from interviews with The Clash and Poly Styrene (frontwoman for X-Ray Spex) to the latest rundown on what the National Front was up to.

It was an article written by one of their people which expressed outrage about Eric Clapton, referring to him as a cultural colonialist, that really got the ball rolling after it was picked up by the big music press in the UK. When people heard about it and RAR, they started sending donations and membership fees to the organisation's headquarters in exchange for pins and fanzines to show their support.

Taking its name from a Clash song, 'White Riot' shows how Jamaican, South East Asian, European kids, musicians, and people of all backgrounds and class - which in England was a big deal - came together to fight racism because a few people bothered to make a fuss.

The movie makes it clear this was a genuine DIY movement. It was people off the street, from the neighbourhood pub, and school kids who didn't like the messages of hate coming from politicians and musicians. They were answering the call of the Clash's song for all people to go into the streets to support the struggle for justice.

The movie makes it clear this was a genuine DIY movement. It was people off the street, from the neighbourhood pub, and school kids who didn't the like the messages of hate coming from politicians and musicians.

This was all occurring alongside the opening salvos of the punk revolution in London. RAR brought together a variety of musicians - not just punk, but also post-punk, reggae, and ska. Interviews from the 70s with people like Joe Strummer and Poly Styrene are mixed with contemporary interviews with Tom Robinson, Topper Headen from The Clash, Pauline Black from The Selector, and the only South-East Asian punk band at the time, Alien Kulture.

All of these bands, plus Steel Pulse, Gang of Four, Sham 69 and more, performed concerts at various times for RAR, but the biggest was in 1978. RAR organised a march that travelled from London's Trafalgar Square across the city to Victoria Park, the heartland of National Front support, where the bands would play. 100,000 people turned up for the march and the concert with buses travelling from as far away as Scotland.

Shah does an excellent job of keeping the inevitable animations to a discrete minimum, preferring to mix archival footage of the times and the bands with contemporary footage of the key people behind RAR to give us an immersive visual and musical picture of the times. From the head of London's metropolitan police force denying there are any organised groups behind the uptick in racist attacks to interviews with South Asian storekeepers talking about being beaten up by skinheads, we're given a clear picture of the uphill battle they were facing.

'White Riot' might be about events that took place 40-plus years ago in the United Kingdom, but everything described will sound eerily familiar to events that have been rumbling across the world recently. Its message of compassion and resistance makes it one of the most inspiring movies you'll see this year.

FAST FACTS
RELEASE DATE: 18/03/2021
RUN TIME: 1h 20m
CAST: Red Saunders
Poly Styrene
Joe Strummer
Roger Huddle
Lucy Whitman
Kate Webb
Topper Headon
Pauline Black
Mykaell Riley
Tom Robinson
DIRECTOR: Rubika Shah
WRITERS: Rubika Shah
Ed Gibbs
PRODUCER: Ed Gibbs
SCORE: Aisling Brouwer
www.modernfilms.com/whiteriot
WhiteRiotFilm
TOP-RATED REVIEWS
Pocahontas - 25 years later, the colours of the wind are fading
TRENDINGPOCAHONTAS25 years later, the colours of the wind are fading
The Violin Player - Sex and strings
TRENDINGTHE VIOLIN PLAYERSex and strings
In The Heights - A dazzling screen adaptation of the modern musical classic
TRENDINGIN THE HEIGHTSA dazzling screen adaptation of the modern musical classic
King Otto - The world plans, and the Greek gods laugh
TRENDINGKING OTTOThe world plans, and the Greek gods laugh
Cosmic Sin - A film that delivers on the promise of its title
TRENDINGCOSMIC SINA film that delivers on the promise of its title
25 Free-to-Watch Short Horror Films - The scariest shorts we uncovered online
TRENDING25 FREE-TO-WATCH SHORT HORROR FILMSThe scariest shorts we uncovered online
Revisiting 'Dark City' 20 years later - The most underrated and influential sci-fi film ever?
TRENDINGREVISITING 'DARK CITY' 20 YEARS LATERThe most underrated and influential sci-fi film ever?
The Wound - Defining masculinity
TRENDINGTHE WOUNDDefining masculinity
Wet Woman in the Wind - A sexy struggle for conquest
TRENDINGWET WOMAN IN THE WINDA sexy struggle for conquest
Atlantis: The Lost Empire - The lost Disney franchise 20 years on
TRENDINGATLANTIS: THE LOST EMPIREThe lost Disney franchise 20 years on
End of the Century - The exquisite beauty of love that could have been
TRENDINGEND OF THE CENTURYThe exquisite beauty of love that could have been
Dirt Music - A typically flawed Tim Winton adaptation
TRENDINGDIRT MUSICA typically flawed Tim Winton adaptation
Parasite - A bloodthirsty and very funny look at class warfare
TRENDINGPARASITEA bloodthirsty and very funny look at class warfare
River's Edge - The kids aren't alright
TRENDINGRIVER'S EDGEThe kids aren't alright
The Land Before Time - 30th anniversary of a breathtaking animated masterpiece
TRENDINGTHE LAND BEFORE TIME30th anniversary of a breathtaking animated masterpiece
Nymphomaniac: Volume I - Let the fun begin
TRENDINGNYMPHOMANIAC: VOLUME ILet the fun begin
The Perfect Secret - Seven friends with alcohol and secrets - let the games begin!
TRENDINGTHE PERFECT SECRETSeven friends with alcohol and secrets - let the games begin!
The Odd Family: Zombie on Sale - An extremely silly zomedy
TRENDINGTHE ODD FAMILY: ZOMBIE ON SALEAn extremely silly zomedy
A Clockwork Orange - 45 years of the old ultra-violence
TRENDINGA CLOCKWORK ORANGE45 years of the old ultra-violence
The Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard - An enjoyable yet mediocre bash
TRENDINGTHE HITMAN'S WIFE'S BODYGUARDAn enjoyable yet mediocre bash
© 2011 - 2021 midnightproductions
All rights reserved

Support SWITCH | Disclaimer | Contact Us!