White Riot

Rubika Shah

IndieLisboa 2020 •

Documentary, 2019, 80′

At the end of the 70’s, British National Front supported right wing extremist and xenophobic positions. As a response the movement Rock Against Racism was created, a central element to the British punk rock. Rubika Shah’s film portrays the beginning of this movement, under the impulse of the music photographer Red Saunders. Bands like The Clash or Sham 69 would join these protest years, in a moment where a youth generation defied the status quo.

RAR – Rock Against the Racism – a political and cultural movement – emerged in 1976, in London, in reaction to a rise in racist attacks on the streets of the United Kingdom, increasing support for the neo-Nazi National Front at the ballot box, and the and support by some musicians for the idea of “Keep Britain White”. Relevant and timely, the award-winning White Riot blends interviews with archive footage to recreate a hostile environment of anti-immigrant hysteria and National Front marches.As neo-Nazis recruited the nation’s youth, RAR’s multicultural punk, rock and reggae gigs were the resistance against the racism. Musicians not only played, but also participated in the organization of the actions.

The movement grew from fanzines to the huge Carnival Against the Racism, one of the RAR’s landmark, in April 1978, which saw 100,000 people march across London before attending an outdoor festival in Victoria Park featuring bnads like The Clash, Stell Pulse e X-Ray Spex. (Helena César)