Di­rec­tor of har­row­ing ‘Detroit’ hopes film starts di­a­logue on race

Global Times US Edition - - LIFE -

Os­car-win­ning di­rec­tor Kathryn Bigelow brought her pow­er­ful in­ter­pre­ta­tion of Detroit’s racially charged 1967 ri­ots home to the city in the world pre­miere of Detroit, say­ing she hoped the film would en­cour­age a wider di­a­logue na­tion­wide.

Detroit recre­ates the civil un­rest by African-Amer­i­cans in the city 50 years ago, and the lit­tle-known po­lice in­ter­ro­ga­tion and shoot­ings of three black men at the Al­giers Mo­tel.

The movie, out in ma­jor US cities on Fri­day, has a rare 100 per­cent-pos­i­tive re­view score on ag­gre­ga­tor web­site Rot­ten Toma­toes with many movie crit­ics calling it timely but painful to watch.

Bigelow, in Detroit for Tues­day’s pre­miere, noted that al­though the events took place a half cen­tury ago, un­armed black men were still be­ing shot by po­lice in the US.

“Th­ese events keep hap­pen­ing. I mean look at how timely and top­i­cally it is with Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin, Laquan McDonald, Fred­die Gray,” Bigelow said.

Brown, Martin, McDonald and Gray were killed in sep­a­rate in­ci­dents be­tween 2012 and 2015. Martin was killed by a neigh­bor­hood watch vol­un­teer.

“I think [the film is] an op­por­tu­nity to en­cour­age or in­vite a di­a­logue about bridg­ing a di­vide this coun­try des­per­ately needs, in my hum­ble opin­ion,” Bigelow added.

Bigelow, 65, was the first woman to win an Os­car for di­rect­ing with her 2008 Iraq war movie The Hurt Locker. Bigelow also di­rected Zero Dark Thirty, the 2012 thriller about the US mil­i­tary mis­sion to hunt down al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.

In Detroit, ac­tor Will Poul­ter plays a white, racist po­lice of­fi­cer who was sub­se­quently tried and ac­quit­ted of all charges in the shoot­ings.

“I think like a lot of other white peo­ple, some­times the topic of race is of­ten un­com­fort­able or dif­fi­cult. I’m hop­ing that a film like this will en­cour­age peo­ple to talk about this topic when we’re in­vited into the con­ver­sa­tion,” Poul­ter said.

Adam Gra­ham, film critic for the Detroit News, wrote that the movie is “an in­tense, gritty, ex­plo­sive re­cre­ation of a grim mo­ment in one of our city’s worst chap­ters.”

“It hurts, be­cause it needs to. This is not a film about civic pride or the city’s come­back. We have to own this, and Bigelow high­lights this ugly mo­ment on its 50th an­niver­sary. Yes, the city has moved on, but this in­ci­dent still stings, and Detroit re­opens wounds that fes­ter,” Gra­ham wrote.

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