Regardless of anyone’s moral,
political, or religious ideologies, there can be absolutely no denial that
September 11th, 2001, was a day that shook the entire world. The
tragic events that transpired on that Tuesday changed the world as we know it,
and it will probably never be quite the same again.
This excellent collection of
eleven short films from directors all over the world is both moving and
thought-provoking. Each movie runs for around ten minutes, and each
offers a different perspective on the events that occurred, and the reactions
of different people to them. The eleven short films are from the following
locales: Egypt, Israel, Mexico, United Kingdom, USA, France, Egypt,
Bosnia-Herzegovina, Iran, Japan, and Burkina Faso.
Some have argued that this
picture can be construed as Anti-American. I disagree wholeheartedly with this
point of view. With the possible exception of the slightly soap-boxy piece
about the treatment of Chile in the early seventies, none of the short films
should really be viewed as either anti-American or pro-American. What each
film does is present a new perspective on the tragedy, a perspective which
perhaps would never have occurred to the viewer. How many “westerners” would
have considered the reactions of Afghani refugees in Iran, who have never
heard of a “tower”, and whose idea of an earth-shattering event is a pair of
men falling down a well and dying? Or of children in Africa whose family
cannot afford to buy prescription drugs for a dying mother? Indeed it would
have been very easy for any of the directors to use the opportunity here to
further any kind of political agenda, but the subject matter has been handled
both tastefully and respectfully, while still having a strong impact and
leaving the viewer perhaps a little bit wiser than before the film started.
There are a few segments that
stand out more than others. The piece from Mexico is particularly jarring,
taking us back to that frightful day and rekindling the horror and emotion
(for this reviewer at least), opening with a lengthy period of black
accompanied by the chaotic sounds of horrified witnesses recounting the events
as they occur. Intermittent flashes of images of the burning towers start to
appear as the cacophony of voices reaches fever pitch, and a chill goes down
the viewer’s spine as their memories of that day come flooding back.
The French segment is equally
brilliant, giving us the point of view of a deaf woman living a few blocks
from the towers. Featuring almost no audio, other than the deep rumble
simulating the vibrations she feels and that act as the closest thing she has
to a sense of hearing, we watch her writing a letter to a loved one,
completely unaware of what is happening so close by.
This is not to say that the rest
of the shorts aren’t fantastic, but to this reviewer the two listed (and
perhaps a couple others, for example the incredibly moving piece from the USA
telling the story of an old man who has lost his wife, living his remaining
years believing to some extent that she is still with him) were the most
The video and audio of this disc
are both outstanding, crisp and vibrant and of an extremely high quality.
Unfortunately, however, the only extra feature is a trailer. It would have
been nice to see some interviews with some or all the different directors,
perhaps explaining the thought-processes that went into their treatment of the
11’09”01 SEPTEMBER 11 is an utterly fantastic piece of
work, and one which should be viewed by people from ALL cultures for the
different points of view it offers of an event which almost everyone will have
an opinion on. Please see this film.