'Riotsville, USA' Will Blow Your Mind
Go see this spellbinding, brain-scrambling documentary.
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Here is a movie with which to blow your mind up: Riotsville, USA, a spellbinding, brain-scrambling documentary out now from director Sierra Pettengill and writer Tobi Haslett.
Riotsville, USA is ostensibly about the late 1960s—specifically about the very real, and very weird, decision by the U.S. Army in 1967 to create an entirely fake town called Riotsville on a military base in Virginia in order to train soldiers to quell the Black uprisings that had spread throughout America over the past few years. It is told entirely through a collage of archival broadcast and government footage, anchored by Haslett’s vivid script and Charlene Modeste’s hypnotic narration.
But Riotsville, USA is starkly, dispiritingly contemporary. It tells a story about rebellion, revolutionary possibility, and repression that we are all too familiar with in 2022: one in which, as Modeste says, “a door swung open…and someone—something—sprang up and slammed it shut.”
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