'Hate Rising': Film Review

Courtesy of Univision Communications
Mandatory, but highly disturbing, viewing.

Journalist Jorge Ramos investigates the growing pervasiveness of hateful rhetoric and violence in America.

The Southern Poverty Law Center dubs the rising tide of hateful rhetoric crimes and violent incidents motivated by bigotry the "Trump Effect." It would have made a far more appropriate title for Hate Rising, Catherine Tambini's disturbing investigative documentary spearheaded by journalist Jorge Ramos.

The Mexican-born Ramos has had personal experience with the matter, having been forcibly ejected from a 2015 Donald Trump press conference after daring to ask the candidate a question about his immigration policy. In the clip of the incident shown in the film, Trump sneers, "Go back to Univision."   

For this documentary, the intrepid journalist throws himself on the front lines. It includes a late-night interview with the Imperial Wizard of a Texas branch of the Ku Klux Klan, held in a remote wooded area. Suffice it to say that this is not exactly a meeting of the minds. Ramos also attends a meeting of the National Socialist Party, where he looks utterly dejected while listening to the racist speeches.

Ramos interviews various other figures of the so-called Alt-Right movement, including the articulate but loathsome Jared Taylor, head of the white supremacist group American Renaissance. Taylor, who speaks approvingly of Trump's positions in the conversation, boils down the immigration issue to his simply not wanting to live near people raising noisy chickens in their backyard.

"I think we'll be judged on how we reacted to Donald Trump," says Ramos, who also speaks with the relatives of victims of the Orlando, Fla., nightmare massacre; a director of the Southern Poverty Law Center, which monitors internet hate sites; and, most movingly, a group of Hispanic elementary schoolchildren who tearfully describe their fear of seeing their parents deported.

This timely film makes for highly compelling viewing and demands to be seen. Fortunately, besides its limited theatrical release, it will be simultaneously broadcast on Fusion and Univision on Sunday.

Production company: Univision Storyhouse
Director: Catherine Tambini
Producers: Veronica Bautista, Jorge Ramos, Catherine Tambini, Dax Tejera
Executive producers: Isaac Lee, Juan Rendon
Director of photography: Matt Porwell
Editor: David Dawkins
Composer: Gary Lionelli

Not rated, 50 minutes