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What You Gonna Do When the World's on Fire?

✭ ✭ ✭   Read critic reviews

Italy, United States, France · 2019
2h 3m
Director Roberto Minervini
Starring Judy Hill, Dorothy Hill, Michael Nelson, Ronaldo King
Genre Documentary

During the summer of 2017, a string of brutal police killings of black men sent shockwaves throughout the country. This documentary is a candid meditation on modern race relations in America, and an intimate portrait of the black community in the South as they fight for justice.

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What are critics saying?


IndieWire by Ben Croll

What You Gonna Do When the World’s on Fire? is hardly a disappointment, but it does, in places, feel like a missed opportunity.


The Film Stage by Ethan Vestby

One’s pulse is not raised much during the two-hour runtime. This is especially disappointing from a director who has made sure to capture parts of America no other filmmakers seem to want to touch with a ten-foot pole.


Variety by Jay Weissberg

While always attractive, the look conveys a level of non-spontaneous construction that often takes away from the potency of hard, brutal reality.


CineVue by John Bleasdale

The vision of the black American experience might be grim, but it is never miserablist or despairing. The songs, the traditions, the love and the community are still there, even if the world seems to be undeniably on fire.


Screen International by Lee Marshall

Shot with grace and sensitivity in black and white using available and natural light, What You Gonna Do is a visual treat, the easiest on the eye of all the director’s films to date. It is also, for all its unevenness, a stirring, committed portrait of black lives at a crossroads in the American South.

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