114' 2017 USA director: Dan Lindsay, TJ Martin editing: TJ Martin, Scott Stevenson, Dan Lindsay production: LIGHTBOX MEDIA LTD. for NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC
When, on 29 April 1992, a jury made up entirely of white Americans acquitted four white police officers on all charges in the beating of Rodney King, a black taxi driver, despite the fact that everyone was able to see what happened on a video recording, this touched off six days of rioting in Los Angeles, eventually claiming more than 60 victims and costing the city around a billion dollars. In their film about these events, Dan Lindsay and T.J. Martin (Oscar winners for Undefeated) have created a textbook example of how to use archival footage, producing a multilayered narrative thanks to masterful editing. Images from streets on fire are interwoven with shots from inside courtrooms and at press conferences, and the riots themselves are shown as the logical consequence of a series of events whose common denominator was broadly understood racism. In the end, despite a bizarre problem with ammunition, the National Guard is able to return order to the city, but, as the evocative ending of the film suggests, it is unlikely that these will be the last race-based riots in the United States.