What You Gonna Do When the World’s On Fire?

2020-06-14T22:14:45+00:00Categories: Docs in Review|

What You Gonna Do When the World's on Fire? Director/ Roberto Minervini Watched on Amazon Rating 3.5/5   Roberto Minervini, an Italian filmmaker fascinated by an America that most of us never see in other documentaries, brings a cinema verité intimacy to What You Gonna Do When the World’s on Fire? An immersive, even casual snapshot of black lives in New Orleans and Jackson, Mississippi, the film is concerned with existence, and with how black people discuss and navigate the chances of their survival in a preternaturally racist country like the United States. We are introduced, in media res, to two brothers, 14 and 9 years old, who are spending their summer days in a kind of Huck Finn idyll, playing hide-n-seek, taking walks, watching trains roll by. At home, their mother makes them constantly aware that the white world is coming for them. You can see the fear in her; a fear that white audiences will have trouble fathoming. In the Mississippi sections, we gather with a small but committed chapter of the New Black Panthers, who protest a local man's shooting and conduct a citizen’s investigation of a recent murder, the horrific (and so far, unsolved) decapitation of a Jackson black man. The group engages in forceful, eloquent discussions about enacting change in their community, but when they protest outside the local courthouse, few people pay attention and the cops, annoyed when the group simply doesn’t go away, resort to pepper spray, handcuffs and arrests. We also meet the ostensible star of the film, [...]