January 13, 2001. Times war photographer Harvey Jacobs is wounded while witnessing a massacre at Nuevo Colon by terrorists. In a desperate effort, the United Nations sends a vehicle to get ... See full summary »
Based on true accounts, the superficial lines between subject and bystander are blurred and bound together, allowing individuals to walk in a vast space and thoroughly live a fragment of the refugees' personal journeys.
Alejandro G. Iñárritu
Hector Luis Bustamante,
An Indian family is expelled from Uganda when Idi Amin takes power. They move to Mississippi and time passes. The Indian daughter falls in love with a black man, and the respective families... See full summary »
Eleven directors from 11 countries each contribute an 11-minute short reflecting on the events of 11 September 2001. A village teacher in Iran tries to explain to her young students what's happened. City kids in Burkina Faso think they've spotted Osama bin Laden. A deaf Frenchwoman in Manhattan writes a Dear John letter to a man who has left that morning for work at the World Trade Center. A Chilean remembers Allende. Events recall other deaths. A mother endures more than her son's death. And so on. The tone varies, as do the locales. Most stories are about others coming to terms with the events of the day, but at least one confronts the viewer with tragedy and death.Written by
Mothers, fathers and loved ones of those who died in New York, soon will be the 29th anniversary of our tuesday, 11th of September and the first anniversary of yours. We will remember you. I hope you will remember us.
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It's weird how a mass assemblage of international artists contributed to an experience that felt almost totally individual-less, like it was all part of some generic collective for what is considered "art." For the most part, the shorts felt like the same old art shorts you see on the festival circuits year after year. And why in God's name did they have Sean Penn represent the USA? He churned out what was possibly the worst segment - pointless "big budget visual bravado, with an indie sensibility" crud, with a message more heavy-handed than an afterschool special. Why didn't they get an American director who does more than ape the art world...someone with some talent and real insight...like Scorcese?
Thankfully, there were a few diamonds in the rough:
The 'Amores Perros' director's segment was VERY eerie. Images of falling bodies and phone messages from people in the building and on the airplanes. It was the only segment that thrust the reality of what happened in your face and didn't dance around the subject. Of course, because it was almost imageless, the audience got confused and restless (I guess that's what happens when art-house goers see something DIFFERENT for a change).
The Chilean docu segment was interesting, since the director showed us a September 11th that happened years ago, where Americans did similarly horrible things. And as soaked with pointless visuals at it was, I enjoyed the segment about Jerasualem getting bombed on 9/11 (and getting drowned out by the media blitz), mainly because the crowds and chaos were a nice contrast between every other short, where individuals just sat around and brooded about the towers.
But leave it to Japan to give us the finest entry. Their period-piece war parable that closed out the entire film was breathtaking and more relevant than all the films that directly involved 9/11.
So, in short, the whole movie is uneven as hell. It's worth watching for a few segments, just be prepared to suffer through a lot of generic crap.
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