Kathryn Bigelow has, since 2008, focused on the process of war, first with The Hurt Locker, the Oscar-winning film about a bomb disposal team in Iraq, then Zero Dark Thirty, a dramatization about the search for Osama Bin Laden. Now, Bigelow and her Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty screenwriter Mark Boal are focusing on a very different kind of conflict: Detroit’s 1967 12th Street Riot.
The 12th Street Riot is a uniquely tragic moment in American history. On July 23rd police raided an illegal bar called a “blind pig” expecting a handful of people hanging out and instead discovered a full-blown party celebrating the return of two GIs from Vietnam. They decided to arrest all 82 people. Gathered onlookers, frustrated over continuing segregation and inequality in the supposed “model city” of race relations, turned the city into a pressure cooker, a situation only aggravated when Governor George Romney sent in the National Guard to restore order. In the end, there were 43 deaths and nearly 1,200 people injured.
The story mostly focuses on one of Detroit’s security guards (John Boyega) as he attempts to mediate a tense stand-off between the Guard and a group of partygoers facing down rifles thanks to a prank. The film will arrive in theaters just after the 50th anniversary of the riot, on August 4th.