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Hot Docs 2022: “Riotsville, U.S.A.”

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Rating: 3 out of 5.

There is always a difference between civilized people and people in a civilized society. It’s how the system is built to respond to the needs of those two groups of people. The system treats one fairly and the rest is pushed against the corner until their last breath.

Riotsville is a fictionalized city in the United States created by police enforcement where they engage in heavy training to combat and defeat social unrest. Set in the 1960s, director Pettengill, through archival footage, reconstructs the meaning of public control, to which people, mostly black Americans, no longer want to accept abuse from the powerful.

What is more mind-blogging in Sierra Pettengill`s “Riotsville, U.S.A.” is that news media during the protests and marches report different news accenting towards the black community and painting them as the only ones causing public disturbances. As you watch the documentary on old footage, especially when you are young enough, you will find yourself shocked that every single frame and story told happened not long ago. Therefore, there should be no surprises about how the police respond to critically important protests on the street and why it drives those mad who fight in the name of freedom.

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