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‘Detroit’ and the Ghosts of History

"The world has kind of handed me a kind of microphone... and I feel like there's a responsibility that comes with that."

“The Detroit riots began 50 years ago Sunday, after a police raid on an unlicensed, after-hours club,” explains

Michel Martin

. “They lasted five days, and by the time they stopped, 43 people were dead, hundreds were injured, thousands had been arrested and entire neighborhoods had burned to the ground.”

Discussing her film on the riots,


, director Kathryn Bigelow says, “These events seem to recur — this is a situation that was 50 years ago, yet it feels very much like it’s today. And I think, you know, you look at South Africa, where there’s truth and reconciliation, and here I feel like there’s not enough conversation about race. And so I think the film has the potential to provide an opportunity to engage in that dialogue. … I can only hope that there’s an urgency and a necessity for it. … There’s no other way for a healing process to begin. …

“The world has kind of handed me a kind of microphone… and I feel like there’s a responsibility that comes with that. … And if I can somehow use this medium, the medium of film, to propel a conversation forward — you know, the purpose of art is to agitate for change. I’ve always believed that and I still do.”

To read the full interview transcript, click here.

To listen to the NPR story, click here.

Detroit Director Kathryn Bigelow on Impactful Storytelling

Anatomy of a Scene: Detroit