In the 1970s, the Bronx was on fire. Left unprotected by the city government, nearly a half-million people were displaced as their close-knit, multiethnic neighborhood burned, reducing the community to rubble. Although insidious government policies caused the devastation, black and Latinx residents bore the blame. Mining a rich seam of archival and home-movie footage, testimonials from retired FDNY firefighters and brass, and interviews with Bronx historians and community organizers, “Decade of Fire” confronts the racially charged stereotypes that dehumanized residents of the South Bronx in the 1970s and rationalized their abandonment by city, state, and federal governments. Vázquez Irizarry, the film’s central character, seeks not only to help heal her community but to redeem its members from the harmful mythology spread by the media that has continued largely unchallenged to this day. “Decade of Fire” offers a new narrative for the South Bronx and places like it across the nation. The Hollywood Reporter writes: “Though many popular explanations for the Bronx’s 1970s suffering were long ago understood to be racist nonsense, (this) heartfelt film represents a self-portrait of those lies' impact. As it chronicles an inspiring wave of rebuilding and community organizing, the film also warns of new threats in need of opposition.”
With co-director Hildebran.