11'09'01: September 11 (2002)

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Released 16-Dec-2003

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Documentary Main Menu Introduction
Main Menu Audio
Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2002
Running Time 127:35 (Case: 130)
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (88:58) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Ken Loach
Claude Lelouch
Sean Penn
Danis Tanovic
Studio
Distributor
Galatee Films
Magna Home Entertainment
Starring None Given
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $24.95 Music None Given


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

     There are certain dates that become titles for a moment in history. Surely, the latest of these would be September 11 - no further explanation is required to evoke the impossible images that we saw on that date. Like the death of Kennedy and the day man walked on the moon - people recall where they were and who they were with when they first learned of the felling of the two towers at the World Trade Centre in New York, and the other horrors that ensued.

     So, in its aftermath, perhaps it was inevitable that some cathartic attempt would be made to try to reconcile ourselves to what we had witnessed. This is no doubt the genesis of the somewhat ingenious idea of inviting 11 international directors to create a piece each of 11 minutes, 9 seconds and 1 frame duration to commemorate and process this event.

     Perhaps it is equally inevitable that the results of such a disparate group of filmmakers would be rather patchy and awkward.

     The first offering is from Iran's Samira Makhmalbaf - a rather touching little story of Iranian children trying to understand that news extends to places beyond their own village. The children are natural and wonderfully vibrant, and the teacher's struggle with primitive equipment is quietly eloquent. In no small gesture of irony, the villagers are furiously attempting to make bricks to shore up against a possible attack by the US. All in all, not a bad start to the piece.

     Number 2 comes from France's Claude Lelouch - an elegant little piece about a French woman whose disability has led to a self-centredness that is broken only by the reality of the towers' fall coming very close to her indeed. It is an attempt to humanise the situation - an examination of minutiae within the massive broader event.

     The third segment is Egyptian Youssef Chahine's project. This is the first piece that does not work so well for me. It comes across as a massively self-conscious production that suffers a certain clumsiness that fails to satisfy. A young American soldier comes to haunt a famous film producer who engages him in a highly conflicted dialogue.

     Next comes a story from Bosnia-Herzegovina, told by Danis Tanovic. Coming from a country that is no stranger to tragedy and war-torn conflict, this piece examines the courage and silent resistance of people living under constant siege. A woman ignores the warnings of a crippled man she meets on a pilgrimage to her village and rallies the women - victims and bereaved by war to perform their silent circular march, protesting the ravages of conflict. A moving and poignant segment.

     This is followed by Burkina Faso's contribution by Idrissa Ouedrago. From one of the poorest places on earth, four young boys learn of the tragedy that has beset the richest country in the world. Upon hearing of the enormous reward being offered for the capture of Osama Bin Laden, the lads espy a wealthy turbaned gent in the market whom they are convinced is the world's number one quarry. Their pursuit of the elusive man is presented in a whimsically tragic-comic sequence.

     Following on from this boys' own adventure is Ken Loach's powerful offering from the United Kingdom. He introduces us to Chilean singer, writer, actor, Vladimir Vega who, in an open letter to the US, commiserates with them on their loss, and reminds them that he is a refugee from another September 11 - in 1973 - when a CIA backed Pinochet overturned their democratically elected socialist government in acts of unspeakable violence.

     Mexico's participation ensues with Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's harrowing, confronting redelivery of the actual imagery of that fateful day. Beginning with one of the longest black screens I can recall - snatches of panicked phone calls, incredulous reporters garble in a sea of static. Then, horrifically, almost subliminal images of bodies falling from the towers snap momentarily on the screen. It is an emotionally charged and challenging piece.

     Israel's offering by Amos Gitai is a hurdy gurdy screamer. A bombing attack in Tel Aviv is one pushy female reporter's big break. She thrusts her microphone unrelentingly into the faces of all she can, fending off security and emergency workers at every turn. Just as she triumphantly begins her report, she is confronted with the news that her story has paled into insignificance with the break of the New York story.

     Mira Nair represents India next in a tragic story of loss based on a true 9'11 story. A Muslim man is, amongst many other thousands in the tragedy, missing. His mother's desperate search to find him turns into a story of bitter pain as FBI agents come to question her on her son's activities. After enduring the rumours that her son was a terrorist sympathiser, it finally transpires that he was a twin tower hero who volunteered to save many lives at Ground Zero before losing his own.

     The American interpretation of the event was ascribed to Sean Penn who created a little fable starring Ernest Borgnine as a lonely old widower. While the little allegory starts very well, its final scenes of botanical miracles are just too obvious to stand up to scrutiny. A shame really, from a piece that started so touchingly.

     The final entry in this omnibus is from Japan's Shohei Imamura. In an allegorical tale, a Japanese soldier returns from the Second World War convinced that he is a snake. Refusing to eat anything other than live rats (graphically depicted in a fascinatingly grotesque scene), he is kept in a bamboo cage by his despairing family. Finally, as protest by the villagers mounts in objection to his presence, he escapes and finally finds solace under a waterfall where he becomes a complete reptile. This story had me flummoxed and confused - far too inscrutable for this poor reviewer's deductive powers.

     Overall, it is an interesting collection of perspectives which work to varying degrees. Certainly, if the producers were looking to collate a sympathetic portrait from around the world, they were doomed to failure. What is patently clear is how many of the films made clear correlations between America's tragedy that day and the country's meddling in world affairs for decades before it. It is an interesting project, and if the results are patchy, they are at least an interesting cinematic snapshot of the varied sensibilities that reflected on one day in history. Possibly worth a look from a social history point of view.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 16x9 enhanced.

     The overall quality of this DVD is excellent with a crisp, sharp and clean transfer. Detail is excellent and there is no low level noise.

     The colours have been rendered faithfully throughout each presentation, although obviously, the palette varies on each individual presentation.

     There were no discernible or distracting artefacts present - and aliasing was barely present at all.

     Subtitles were consistently legible and easy to read, which is fortunate as many of the presentations relied heavily upon them.

     This disc is an RSDL disc, but the layer change is present between two segments and provides no distraction at all.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

     Overall, the audio quality was of a high standard.

     There is one audio track on this DVD - an English Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack. It is clean and distortion free.

     The dialogue was generally clean and audible with no audio sync problems apparent.

     The various pieces all had their own musical contributions to make. These were varied in their success, with probably Mexico's horrific "score" of snatches of 9'11 conversations the most disturbing, and Chilean Vladimir Vega's one of the most moving.

     Surround presence was responsive without being intrusive. It was used to a lesser or greater degree by various producers. There was little activity in the subwoofer.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Theatrical Trailer

     Just the one trailer available.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

     This does not appear to be available in R1.

Summary

     It's patchy and a bit hit and miss - but this is an interesting historical cinematic artefact of a day we're unlikely to forget.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Mirella Roche-Parker (read my bio)
Sunday, April 11, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDSinger SGD-001, using S-Video output
DisplayTeac 76cm Widescreen. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationTeac 5.1 integrated system
SpeakersTeac 5.1 integrated system

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