Expanding her 2017 short, Rubika Shah’s energising film charts a vital London protest movement. Rock Against Racism (RAR) was formed in 1976, prompted by ‘music’s biggest colonialist’ Eric Clapton and his support of racist MP Enoch Powell.
'White Riot' blends fresh interviews with queasy 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 and reggae gigs provided rallying points for resistance. As founder Red Saunders explains: ‘We peeled away the Union Jack to reveal the swastika’. The campaign grew from Hoxton fanzine roots to 1978’s huge antifascist carnival in Victoria Park, featuring X-Ray Spex, Steel Pulse and of course The Clash, whose rock star charisma and gale-force conviction took RAR’s message to the masses.
Starring Red Saunders, Dennis Bovell, Mykaell Riley, and Pauline Black. Featuring The Clash, Tom Robinson Band, Steel Pulse, X-Ray Spex and Alien Kulture.
Photo credit: Syd Shelton
★★★★ "An excellent brief documentary about a heroic grassroots political movement whose importance reveals itself more clearly in retrospect with every year that passes." - Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian
★★★★ "It's a cliché to describe a film as "essential viewing", but this really is." - Adam Woodward, Little White Lies
★★★★ "A smart, spirited feature debut" - Simran Hans, The Guardian
“An engaging historical story with timely contemporary echoes” - The Hollywood Reporter
“A thrilling, incendiary look at punk’s influence on politics” The Film Stage
“Highly engaging and suddenly very relevant…the treasure trove of archive is variously appalling and inspiring” - Screen International