When I first heard there was another documentary on the 1992 Los Angeles riots, I had no interest in seeing the film. I thought it was a story I already knew. There have been so many docs on the riots, and 1992 was only 25 years ago. This story can't be freshly told, I thought.
I was completely wrong. Directed by Dan Lindsay and T.J. Martin, LA 92 profoundly tells the story of the horrific riots and ties the events to many of the atrocities of today. This is another must-see from the Tribeca Film Festival, which is where the film premiered. Relevant, eerie and raw, LA 92 is a past and present history lesson.
LA 92 appropriately begins with footage from the 1965 Watts Riots, the tension that led up to the beating of Rodney King and the epic aftermath. There are no expert opinions or one-on-one interviews with historians. The film transports you back to 1992 with archival footage from media outlets and random citizens.
Disturbingly, nearly every word uttered in the film is relevant for 2017. With crafty editing, the film tackles race, politics and media. We see how so many people were affected by injustice — and the effects of not understanding the nuances of class and race. Moreover, we see, in real time, the result of not evolving on these issues, which leaves us in 2017. As the credits roll, LA 92 haunts you. We are living in an era that will be a documentary two decades from now. When will we learn the lesson and if we don't, how epic will the explosion be? Without saying it, Dan Lindsay and T.J. Martin leaves us with these thoughts and more.
LA 92 may not tell us new information, but by placing the narrative in the hands of people who lived it, the documentary comes alive on the big screen.
See the unexpected drama that went down at the Tribeca Film Festival with The Wendy Williams Show, above.
(Photo: National Geographic)