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Riotsville, USA

Sunday, Dec 11, 2022 at 4:00 pm

Location: Bartos Screening Room

Dir. Sierra Pettengill. 2022, 91 mins. DCP. For her unsettling and brilliantly executed documentary composed of archival footage, Pettengill has uncovered a trove of remarkable and disturbing footage from the late ’60s of a U.S. military experiment. Within the surreal confines of small, artificially constructed towns on army bases called Riotsvilles, police and National Guardsmen simulated violent attacks on Black American citizens deemed as subversives—training for what would become widespread, racist government crackdowns. Rather than employ talking heads or conventional documentary storytelling, Pettengill uses the footage itself, as well as news reports and interviews from the period, and employs penetrating, philosophical voice-over from critic Tobi Haslett, constructing a hypnotic account of a violent, authoritarian past that, as the film implies, is sadly ever present.  

Tickets: $15 / $11 senior and students / $9 youth (ages 3–17) / discounted for MoMI members ($7–$11). Order tickets. Please pick up tickets at the Museum’s admissions desk upon arrival. All seating is general admission. Review safety protocols before your visit.