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Controversial Documentary ‘Let The Fire Burn’ Opens In Chicago In Oct

by Sergio
September 4, 2013 10:08 AM
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Tambay first wrote about this much anticipated documentary by Jason Osder - Let the Fire Burn - in July (HERE), but I have to disagree with him on one point.

He said that the controversial incident, which the documentary is about, was a “widely-unfamiliar story”. Well that’s not exactly true. I recall the incident quite vividly and, in fact, it was a major media story in the country for weeks and the subject of much intense debate.

Burn chronicles the story which led to the infamous May 1985 standoff between the Philadelphia Police and a black radical, back-to-nature, communal organization called MOVE.

People in the neighborhood constantly complained to authorities about the compost piles the group kept in the back of the row house they lived in, and, after attempts by the police to move the organization out of their house, there was an armed standoff which resulted in a police officer being shot and killed.

After a shootout involving guns and tear gas, the police decided to bomb the MOVE row house, resulting in, not surprisingly, total disaster and tragedy. Several adults and children in the building died in the resulting fire and the neighborhood was destroyed when the fire spread out of control and razed some 60 homes in the area to the ground.

Zeitgeist Films picked up the film for theatrical and eventual DVD and VOD distribution, and after its premiere in early October at the Film Forum in New York, Burn will then travel to Chicago where it will play an extended two week run at the Gene Siskel Film Center in downtown Chicago from Oct. 18-31.

There’s no trailer yet for the film, but here's a video of a Q & A with director Osder, taped at the Hot Docs Film Festival:

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More: Screening Sighting, Coming Soon

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  • wordblaze | September 5, 2013 1:53 PMReply

    Im 39. From NY. This story was so explosive and tramautic for sooo many black folks across the country when it happened. Trust that NY'ers, from educators to artists to activists were shaken by this moment.

  • Sab | September 5, 2013 7:16 AMReply

    Unfortunately, I don't remember this but then I was about 15 y.o. If this got as much coverage in mainstream media as you all are saying then this is definitely something that was not and would not have been a topic of conversation in my family. Especially as we were working class in California. My parents would not have known how to broach the subject of this incident. I wish they had because it might have informed me about a lot of issues about race that I later on in my life found myself questioning.

  • Man-Over-Bored | September 4, 2013 1:08 PMReply

    He meant, a “widely-unfamiliar story” among white people, many of whom could give a flying phuck about a community of locked-haired Black radicals. Can't wait to see this when it comes to my town. Thanks for posting!

  • Sergio | September 4, 2013 2:00 PM

    Please when were you born? This story was MAJOR news event covered by all the media all over the country. Not just some "black only" thing.

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