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– by David Kozlowski

I grew up in Detroit, as did my father and his father too. Detroit was once the shining example of capitalism and opportunity in America… in the 1950s. Somewhere along the way things went terribly, terribly wrong, and it didn’t happen overnight. Today, Detroit is shell of its former self, struggling to regain its former status and rebuild its image. 

To understand the Motor City’s decline, you have to focus upon a key moment in its history, which director Kathryn Bigelow (The Hurt Locker, Zero Dark Thirty) and writer Mark Boal dramatizes in the new trailer for Detroit. This film recounts events before, during, and after the city’s 1967 riots — widely considered the worst civil disturbance in American history.

My father served in the Michigan National Guard in 1967. He lived through the Detroit riots on the front lines, and he saw it all. Whatever happened that summer, he refused to speak of it… ever. 

Bigelow’s film covers the riots from the perspective of the Detroit police and some of its citizens. The chaos that ensued involved not only the police and the National Guard, but also the 82nd and 101st Airborne divisions. Think about that for a moment, active duty Army infantry were deployed on the streets of a major American city. 

The final statistics of the Detroit riots are sobering: 43 people died, nearly 1,200 injured, 7,200 arrests, and more than 2,000 buildings destroyed. Detroit was never the same after that summer; it many never fully recover or return to its former glory. 

Every once in a while we get a film that tells an important story and transcends the medium, I hope this is one of those cases — I definitely need to know what happened. 

If the amazing quality of Bigelow’s recent work is any indication, this could be the most critically-acclaimed film of the year.

What do you know about the Detroit Riots of 1967, is this a film that you want (or need) to see? Let us know in the comments down below!

Detroit hits theaters on August 4, 2017.

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SOURCE: Annapurna

David Kozlowski is a writer, podcaster, and visual artist. A U.S. Army veteran, David worked 20 years in the videogame industry and is a graduate of Arizona State University's Film and Media Studies.