11’09″01 – September 11 (2002) – movie review

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Movie Review by Alice Castle

Starring: Maryam Karimi, Emmanuelle Laborit, JerOme Horry, Nour El-Sherif
Directors: Youssef Chahine, Amos Gitai, Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu

The day after the attacks on the World Trade Centre French TV Director Alain Brigand came up with the idea of asking 11 renowned film directors from 11 different countries to make an 11 minute 9 second 1 frame film on the theme of September 11 th. This is the result with films from: Iran (Samira Makhmalbaf), France (Claude Lelouch), Egypt (Youssef Chahine), Bosnia-Herzegovina (Danis Tanovic), Burkino-Faso (Idrissa Ouedraogo), UK (Ken Loach), Mexico (Alejandro Gonazles Inarritu), Israel (Amos Gitai), India (Mira Nair), USA (Sean Penn) and Japan (Shohei Imamura).

As you would expect each director has treated the subject with his or her own unique perspective and treatment, though what binds many of them is the universal suffering experienced through conventional, civil or holy war. Then there is hypocrisy. Ken Loach’s film focuses on Chile and Tuesday 11 th September 1973 when Allende was deposed with US support, leading ultimately to the deaths of thousands of people standing up against the imposed military regime. It also won the Prize for the Best Short Film at Venice this year. Danis Tanovic’s film deals with the widows of Srebrinica who demonstrate silently in the streets on the eleventh of every month.

One of the most memorable films is Idrissa Ouedraogo’s short from Burkino Faso. A young schoolboy sees Osama Bin Laden on the streets of Ouagadougou and persuades his schoolmates to help and track him down for the $1million reward. Armed with spears and a sense of determination they plan to capture Bin Laden at his favourite prayer spot but lose him at the airport.

In the period between Christmas 2002 and the New Year 2003 when 11’09” 01 – SEPTEMBER 11 is receiving its UK release, it is a film well worth seeing and reflecting on before we move on into the next phase of the war on terror.

4 out of 6 stars