Led by Univision’s Jorge Ramos, the documentary “Hate Rising” clocks in at a slim 50 minutes. Since it focuses on racist extremism, its short running time feels like a blessing; there’s only so much hate speech viewers can take before their jaws take up permanent residence on the floor and their tears spill over.
Journalist Ramos found himself the subject of the news after being forcibly removed from a press conference for Donald Trump after he tried to question the presidential candidate about immigration. In the aftermath of that 2015 event, Ramos and director Catherine Tambini explore how Trump’s campaign rhetoric legitimizes bigotry against Latinos, Muslims, gays and others.
“Hate is contagious,” Ramos warns as he interviews people from the Texas Rebel Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, Aryan National Alliance, White Lives Matter and other white supremacist and alt-right organizations. Appallingly bigoted language is the norm in these conversations. Moments with young Mexican American students, the Southern Poverty Law Center and fiercely patriotic hate-crime victims provide much-needed balance to the vitriol expressed by those on the opposite side.
“Hate Rising” doesn’t hesitate to draw a direct connection between Trump and a variety of groups that it posits are emboldened by the Republican contender’s statements. It’s a capably made documentary that argues its case with intelligence and compassion, though it’s unlikely that it will sway the candidate’s most ardent defenders.
Running time: 50 minutes
Playing: Ahrya Fine Arts, Beverly Hills