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What You Gonna Do When The World's On Fire?

Roberto Minervini portrays the everpresent violence and threat the local Black Americans in Louisianna are facing from the police as well as the still-active Ku Klux Klan.


Armageddon. Al-Malhama Al-Kubra. End of Days. There are different names given to the end of the world, a reality often visualized in high budget movies with special effects and a highly paid Hollywood actor. The end of the world can also be interpreted from the perspective of a nation of people, who can define the word suffering over centuries right through to modern day. It’s been 400 years since slave ships from Africa arrived in America and 150 years of systemic oppression, when life is likened to a living hell, what would it look like from the outlook of a few? Through the documentary What You Gonna Do When the World's on Fire? you get a front row seat.

It is worth saying you need a strong stomach for this documentary, and a strong heart. It takes you on a journey, inciting feelings of joy, pain and unpredictably provoking a rhythmical physical movement to the culturally authentic music. It is direct, unapologetic and honest. Telling stories to an audience, who may never have believed it had it been told to them directly. It is beautifully shot without colour, with intentional use of lighting to create warmth for the heart-warming scenes and starkness for those of high intensity. The direction from Roberto Minervini provided 123 minutes of engaging content, filled with highs and lows.

This documentary follows the lives of seemingly unrelated people whose race is their commonality, it is given a new lease of life being released in the year 2020. The year where not only has the world woken up to the racism effecting every country around the world, but also the injustice, plight and hate which systemically puts the lives of black people to a disadvantage. With every awakening, there are disbelievers, and it is those I implore to self-educate here.

I judge a good documentary by a few criteria, it should teach you something, make you think about the topic and its place in the world and provoke you to do additional self-learning to build upon what you thought you knew. In the world we are living in today, unless you have just crawled out from under a rock, this should tick 3 for 3. Since the death of George Floyd on May 25th and the worldwide protests standing for Black Lives Matter, there is no better time than now to widen your scope of media, and really absorb a genre you may not have otherwise considered.

This film gives a feature length depiction on the situation in America, the racism, sexism and classism. The American tribalism that comprises a way of life, that others if shoes were swapped, may begin to feel like the world is on fire.

Jennifer Chuks


Italien/USA/Frankreich 2018, 123 min
Language: English
Genre: Drama, Documentary
Director: Roberto Minervini
Author: Roberto Minervini
DOP: Diego Romero
Montage: Marie-Hélène Dozo
Distributor: Grandfilm
Cast: Judy Hill, Michael Nelson, Dorothy Hill, Ronaldo King
FSK: 12
Release: 23.07.2020




  • OV Original version
  • OmU Original with German subtitles
  • OmeU Original with English subtitles

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