11'09"01 - September 11 Review

"We Will Never Forget."

Ten years later. We will never forget.

As Americans, we are understandably still heartbroken over the tragedy and may never fully recover, but if we're smart then we need to see that an entire non-American culture exists outside our little bowl and can't be expected to react, sympathize, and contribute in the same way or in ways we'd like.

Think of it this way: If a family down the street from you loses a loved one, naturally you're going to feel bad for them, but if you never knew them you're not going to be grief stricken, and no one would expect you too. Furthermore, if you had prior resentment against that family, it would still surface your ability to sympathize. Does that mean you're a bad person? Of course not. But it illustrates the relativity of the impact a tragic event can have on everyone.

Summary: A doc*mentary shared between 11 directors that tells 11 different stories shown around the world based off the topic of 9/11.

Tagline: "11 stories, 11 directors, 1 film"

Let's put it simply, this film is a masterpiece.

Ten years later, America is still shaken up over the tragedy that 9/11 was. The reason I'm posting this review is remember this day exactly ten years later. I was seven years old when it happened, so I will never really know what was going through people's heads when the WTC went down, but through doc*mentaries and stories that I've heard over the years, I've felt the pain everyone in the country has felt. 9/11 is a tough topic in history to speak of, and in years to come (even now), it'll be a bigger day in history than D-Day is. Not like that matters, but this is a day that will never be forgotten. Never.

Back to the doc*mentary: In Iran, we are introduced to young children who are refugees from their home country, building brick buildings to survive potential bombings, and living in dirt. And yet they all giggle and laugh and go on as naive children. And, in all honesty, why should they be effected by September 11? Bosnia's short portrays a culture that has been under a state of perpetual grief for as long as they can remember, and they still march in defiant protest and solemn anger over the death of their loved ones. Sure, news of 9-11 effects them, but in a land this morose and unhappy it's as if they have no more grief to give. Burkina-Faso's, while funny, illustrated a good point: The children don't hunt down who they think is Bin Laden because they are upset vengeful, they do it for the money. They are, beneath it all, capitalists, the difference being they wanted money for good cause, unlike our government who disgustingly capitalized on 9-11 for the patriotism agenda.

And, perhaps Loach's London segment was the most effective in that it was a tearful way of saying "I feel your pain, maybe you could feel ours too..?" How many people, especially in my generation (I'm 17) really know about the horrific history of Chile, and moreso, that our government was behind it? Nowhere do I see Ken Loach saying shame on America, but rather I see a wounded survivor in a heartfelt request for the same empathy he has for us on September 11. I'm sure the murder of Allende means a lot more to Chileans than the WTC bombings ever will, just as WTC will always mean more to us than the murder of Allende. Right?

Emotionally, I thought the French segment was the most brilliant, as it characterized the attitude of this whole film. Focusing on the woman's deafness we are put in her head and experience, for a brief moment, what it's like to be deaf, the same as we might experience what it's like to be foreign or non English speaking. And as an audio-visual experience it was unforgettable. Only when her boyfriend comes home does the effect of the tragedy really strike her, and it reminded me that we take our senses for granted.

I admired Sean Penn's story but hated his technique. Split screens and repeat-frames are tastelessly self indulgent and the Japanese short, while clever and striking, felt rather out of place for this film. I get the "Holy War" statement but it's better suited for another film and another argument; definitely not for this.

The reason I chose to review this 9/11 doc*mentary over countless others is because I feel that this one is the best. Though, with the doc*mentary airing tonight of footage from ten years ago, that might change.

What this film allows is for us all to levitate above the planet and gaze down on an entire global culture and how a single event effects it. I'm sorry if Americans are offended and see this as "anti-American propaganda" but that speaks of just plain not getting it. Every nation and every culture is as guilty as we are innocent. But to believe our tragedies are superior and carry more weight sentimentally is wrong and the gross effect of isolation and nationalism. We confine ourselves inside nations and borders and collective mentalities and forget that beneath (or perhaps above) all the ideology, we're all human beings and deserve to be treated as so.

A marvelous, unforgettable film that opened up my mind and emotions on a ton of different levels. One of the best doc*mentaries ever. Period.

  • Story

  • Acting

  • Directing

  • Visuals

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