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Let The Fire Burn

5 (36 votes)
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In the astonishingly gripping Let the Fire Burn, director Jason Osder has crafted that rarest of cinematic objects - a found-footage film that unfurls with the tension of a great thriller. On May 13, 1985, a longtime feud between the city of Philadelphia and controversial radical urban group Move came to a deadly climax. By order of local authorities, police dropped military-grade explosives onto a Move-occupied rowhouse. TV cameras captured the conflagration that quickly escalated-and resulted in the tragic deaths of eleven people (including five children) and the destruction of 61 homes. It was only later discovered that authorities decided to "...let the fire burn." Using only archival news ...

  • DirectorJason Osder
  • Runtime: 1 hr 35 min
  • StudioCinedigm
  • QualityHD

Reviews about Let The Fire Burn

Chicago Tribune
Michael Phillips
Chicago Tribune

Director Jason Osder's grieving account of the deadly police assault on the MOVE collective's fortified Philadelphia row house works small, continuous miracles with a variety of existing footage.

Minneapolis Star Tribune
Colin Covert
Minneapolis Star Tribune

Jason Osder's stunning debut documentary offers a disturbing look at a forgotten tragedy.

New York Times
Neil Genzlinger
New York Times

[Osder] cuts between news footage of the events as they unfurled and testimony from hearings held afterward to create a stark, nonjudgmental portrait of an incident that probably needn't have happened.

Detroit News
Tom Long
Detroit News

"Let the Fire Burn" offers a searing picture of how dumb and dangerous humans can be.

Grantland
Wesley Morris
Grantland

It's scary as both a movie and a still-reverberating moment in time.

Globe and Mail
Liam Lacey
Globe and Mail

Brilliantly edited, the film moves back and forth in time, first tracking the events leading up to the confrontation through news reports of the day.

Arts Fuse
Gerald Peary
Arts Fuse

[This historic footage -- from newsreels, TV stations once-live coverage, from several investigating commissions -- has been edited, brilliantly into a coherent, important political film.

Philadelphia Daily News
Ellen Gray
Philadelphia Daily News

It's a remarkably evenhanded telling of a story in which there could be no winners, using archival footage alone.

We Got This Covered
Isaac Feldberg
We Got This Covered

Let The Fire Burn is an incendiary documentary that uses archival footage to weave a compelling, all-important tale of tragedy bred from anger and misunderstanding.

Metro
Matt Prigge
Metro

Apart from the score and the very occasional basic intertitle to help us along, all we see and hear is footage from the day. We're immersed in the present of this world.

St. Paul Pioneer Press
Chris Hewitt (St. Paul)
St. Paul Pioneer Press

It's gripping and shocking.

Blu-ray.com
Brian Orndorf
Blu-ray.com

Mesmerizing and provocative, Burn creates an unnerving atmosphere of troubling decisions on both sides of the conflict, permitting the viewer to understand the thought process that went into the explosive endgame.

Let The Fire Burn
Ayesha McGowan
ALL OF THE STARS!

All of the stars. Do yourself a favor and watch this. You're welcome.

Let The Fire Burn
Amazon Customer
MOVE's Story, Forcefully Told!

Just watch this film. Casts a huge light on a terrible time in Philadelphia's history.

Let The Fire Burn
kimberly perreira
MOVING

So moving! Amazing what our history books don't tell us. Watch this movie and take a journey back in time to learn about your take on the John Africa, move movement and how America handled it.

Let The Fire Burn
Bunniman
A true story from recent American history (1980s) that everyone ...

A true story from recent American history (1980s) that everyone should know. Learn how police and fire officials responded in Philadelphia when their motive was to destroy a peaceful revolutionary black organization.

Let The Fire Burn
Kevin A.
Watch this to get a couple of perspectives of this Philadelphia tragedy.

A great little narrative of what might have happened. A poignant portion of the documentary is comparing the "story" of the child survivor (one of only two survivors within the MOVE organization) of this tragedy vs. the Philadelphia police in testimony about the incident. But the movie, without a narrator, never tells the viewer what to think. Quite a moving documentary.

Let The Fire Burn
Thrifty dude
Eye opening film of a story history likes to forget which EVERY American should see

Eye opening film of a story history likes to forget which EVERY American should see. This film solely uses archival video footage from news reports, interviews, and other media sources surrounding the 1985 bombing of MOVE's residential home by Philadelphia Police which ultimately led to a fire that ultimately destroyed over 65 other residential homes. This is a must see for any classes related to USA history, African American studies, and/or social justice in the USA.

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'Let the Fire Burn' movie review: Documentary revisits the MOVE bombing of 1985 - Washington Post


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In the masterfully crafted “Let the Fire Burn,” viewers are thrown back into a time that seems both ancient and wrenchingly immediate, when mutual fear, suspicion and misunderstanding combusted in a grievous, literally fatal, explosion. On May 13, 1985 ...

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A police officer surveys the damage after the fire that is the subject of "Let the Fire Burn." Credit Zeitgeist Films. The film opens, however, with yet another strand of history, a kind of tragic, naïve witness to the past. That would be a video of a ...
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