Up until very recently it was not uncommon to hear the phrase “racism is dead in America.” It was never true – even with a black man in the Oval Office – but that fallacy is looking more and more ridiculous in light of the numerous murders of unarmed young black men across the country in the last several months. Segregation and lynchings may be relics of a tragic and infuriating part of our still-recent history, but racial tensions clearly remain an issue in the United States. Ava DuVernay’s Selma, about the 1965 protest march from Selma to Montgomery, could not be coming out at a more appropriate time. Perhaps a look into the past can yield a more considerate future.
For a long time in the 80’s, 90’s and early 2000’s, Downtown Los Angeles was a bit of a no man’s land. Luckily the unstoppable progression of gentrification is starting to turn that reputation on its ear. In The Purge: Anarchy – the sequel to last year’s The Purge – writer/director James DeMonaco finds a new purpose for the city center. “Everyone comes Downtown to purge,” says a character early on in the film, and so we, the viewers, join “everyone” for their annual release. And it is quite a time.