September 11th Short Films

Posted on February 23, 2011

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In 2002, a collection of short films about the September 11th, 2001 terrorist attacks was released. The films, made by directors from all around the world, were each unique, in that many of them didn’t focus directly on the attacks. The tragedy that day meant something different to each of the directors and each gave an interesting new layer to what September 11th meant all around the world.

Director Makhmalbaf from Iran paints an interesting picture of the innocence of childhood, and the day to day lives of refugees living in Iran. Considering this piece was made about the Middle East, a place that many Americans consider, as a whole, a “Terrorist Zone,” including the part with the children having a moment of silence for those who died on Sept 11 was definitely eye-opening. Though not completely serious, the long takes, especially the shot of the children gathered around the tower, gave the piece a somber feel.

Director Danis Tanovic’s film was perhaps the most affecting of the September 11th pieces that I watched. In it, we see a displaced woman who also experienced a terrorist attack in the former Soviet Union. Although the attacks on September 11th were terrible and tragic, similar attacks have happened all over the world. Thousands have died, but many more are left behind to suffer as well. The film does a good job reminding the viewer of that fact, and has a feeling of overwhelming sadness throughout because of that.

Director Claude Lelouch piece about the deaf woman was also very memorable. The film had a very suspenseful, almost noir feel, because many of the shots were dark. It also put a sort of positive twist on a very negative event, as the tragedy was able to bring the two characters closer together. The suspense of the piece was also heightened by the sound. It was almost as if the viewer was hearing things as the deaf woman would. Overall it was very effective at helping the viewer to see experience  the attacks in a completely different way.

The film from Burkina Faso, directed by Idrissa Ouedraogo, was a much lighter take on what September 11th meant to other people all over the world. A group of children searching for Osama Bin Laden in their town reminds the viewer of the innocence of childhood, but doesn’t make light of the poverty of the people in this town. It serves as a reminder that there are others outside the United States who are suffering in different ways.

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