Monday, January 09, 2006

Coming Attractions: 9/11

Flight 93 (the trailer is here) is the first mainstream theatrical release to focus specifically on the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. It's set to open in April.

If the just-released trailer is any indication, the film is likely to be a pretty raw emotional experience. Whether people go to see it remains another matter. Certainly, a lot of moviegoers are likely to think it tasteless and exploitation.

In a recent New York Times article, reporter Heather Timmons noted that director-writer Paul Greengrass shot the movie with the full cooperation of the families of the 40 passengers who died when the airplane crashed in rural Pennsylvania.

"A researcher for Flight 93, Kate Solomon, contacted the victims' families to solicit their support, and Mr. Greengrass and one of the film's producers, Lloyd Levin, met with many. ...

"Many of the actors have had direct contact with family members while researching their roles. Most stress that they are not seeking to impersonate the passengers they represent, but instead are trying to portray the way they might have reacted.

"Leigh Zimmerman, the actress playing the passenger Christine Snyder, was sent Ms. Snyder's wedding video by her family. 'I got to see the way that she walked and talked, I got to see her be with her family,' Ms. Zimmerman said. 'I think she was a calming presence,' she said, an interpretation reflected in Ms. Zimmerman's portrayal."

This might sound like a callous observation, but I wonder if Greengrass, in working so closely with the families, might compromise his vision. After all, one would guess -- and rightly so -- that just about every family member of every Flight 93 passenger wants to believe his or her loved one was instrumental in storming that cockpit, an act of selflessness and heroism that saved countless lives.

What family would have given the moviemakers the go-ahead to depict their dead loved one as anything less than heroic? By honoring every passenger of that ill-fated flight, Greengrass might be making less of a movie and more of a memorial.

Which, come to think of it, seems like the appropriate thing to do. Regardless, Flight 93 is sure to be a fascinating, challenging film.

3 Comments:

At 1:35 PM, Anonymous Pacze Moj said...

Good points. Regardless of whether Greengrass strays into exploitation or memorialization, he's in for a rough ride. Hopefully, he'll be able to use the event to create a challenging film, like you say. I also wonder what it means that a British director is helming the project, and not an American. Will he get slack or flack?

The timing seems about right, though. There will be about 4-5 years of time between the plane crash and the opening of the film; Coming Home and other films explicitly about the Vietnam war, another traumatic experience for America, started to come out 4-5 years after the war ended.

Also, the director behind the made-for-Tv Saving Jessica Lynch is making a made-for-TV dramatization of the same event, and with the same title, as Greengrass. I wonder which will be better...

 
At 12:15 AM, Blogger Steve said...

Well, there's a book out that documents the experience of an "average" american.

Hi guys, have you read Younghee Cha's book: After 9/11: A Korean Girl's Sexual Journey? If you haven't, prepare for a wild ride that will leave you with hope about our international situation. After 9/11, a Korean girl faces visa and financial problems while living in L.A. Along the way, she encounters her guilty feelings about her first love.. and embarks upon an erotic odyssey...by turns blissful, dangerous and bizarre. The first thing that struck me about her book is it's not only a journey into sexuality but into being human. It's a search for world peace and toward our longevity as a people. I almost cried when I took in the insights it had into the Iraq war and its relation to undocumented residency - especially the DREAM act. A brilliant merging of sexuality with politics happens when she nakedly performs the crane dance, the dance for world peace and longevity, for a powerful but sexually dysfunctional client.

I laughed out loud reading this and then sat silently mesmerized while absorbing its political and erotic content. Having so throroughly enjoyed it, I believe it's good to share this feeling with others, including those of us here who care so much about America's inclusiveness and ability to transcend a devastating but ultimately petty attack, about our wholeness as people - a variety of ethnicities with a myriad ways of experiencing life. This book concerns our future as a nation that represents all people. Check out more about it at its website - http://www.youngheecha.com.

 
At 7:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I for one just hope it has some ambivalence. We could all use a lot more of that in this black and white Bushworld.

 

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