2017 Milwaukee Film Festival – Review – LET IT FALL: LOS ANGELES 1982-1992
One of the featured categories at the 2017 Milwaukee Film Festival and past programs is the BLACK LENS program. It’s no secret that Milwaukee is a racially divided city and the festival has made a concerted effort to try to bridge those divides.
This year, that includes Oscar winning filmmaker John Ridley bringing his documentary LET IT FALL: LOS ANGELES 1982-1992 to the festival. John Ridley is on a board of directors of Milwaukee Film and Milwaukee is one of the few places where you will be able to see the film on the big screen in unedited form, although it did already play on ABC. LET IF FALL: LOS ANGELES 1982-1992 will seem awfully familiar for its first half if you’ve seen O.J.: MADE IN AMERICA. Not bad, but familiar. But, when it turns its attention to the Rodney King case, the subsequent acquittals, and the riots that broke out, it really distinguishes itself with interviews with many of the principals that were deeply involved and comprehensive footage.
What’s most striking is that it takes a lot of different angles. Sure, we have the white police officers and the black residents of South Central. But, we also have how tensions between blacks and the Korean community were intricately tied in. We have lazy, oblivious people in power contributing to the tensions. We have people that perhaps are interested mainly in self justification as well as people that are more magnanimous and taking a bigger view with the wisdom of hindsight. You even have some unexpected moments, like a female police officer coming out to her partner in the chaos when they believed their lives were in serious danger.
LET IT FALL: LOS ANGELES 1982-1992 is going to be overshadowed by the O.J. documentary, which frankly is better, but this really makes a case for itself by the end. And, at a much more manageable run time, it’s a more theater friendly experience as well. With its wealth of on the spot footage and access to key individuals, you don’t have to choose between one documentary or the other, but can treat them both as companion pieces.