Eleven acclaimed filmmakers, from eleven different countries and cultures, were invited to make short films of 11 minutes, 9 seconds and 1 frame in length, reflecting their personal responses to the terrorist attacks of September 11 2001. No restrictions were imposed on content or approach.
Review by Louise Keller:
Thought provoking, questioning, reflective, searching, 11’09’01 is a stimulating and sobering reflection of the horrific events that shocked the world on September 11. This heart-felt documentary with views and varying flavours from 11 directors of 11 different origins and 11 different cultures, is a pot-pouri of emotional responses, personal statements and interpretations. The universal horror we all felt, and the way that this single event has forged a bond between nations and individuals is moulded in a moving collection of works by filmmakers who have something to say. We are fascinated, moved to tears, shocked, perplexed and even amused.
11’09’01 is a cinematographic tapestry where the essence of different cultures is woven together with the thread of humanity. The second hand of a giant clock moves second by second to reveal the world’s many time zones, all of which share the impact of the horror. From Iran to France, Egypt, Bosnia, West Africa, England, Mexico, Israel, India, America to Japan, we are exposed to different stories, different interpretations. In Iran, we meet young children whose teacher is trying to explain the tragedy and asks them to share a minute’s silence; in Bosnia we get to understand women who demonstrate every month since the events in Srebrnica; in West Africa we join a young boy who leaves school to earn money to buy medicines for his ill mother. When the boy sees a man who looks like Osama Bin Laden, he quickly calculates what his cut of the reward will be. There’s a striking short film from Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, whose concept that you can only arrive to the light after a dark and painful process of confronting reality.
This film comprises mostly of sounds – from the chanting collective prayer by the Chamulas Indians integrated with sirens and the sounds of chaos. The screen is dark with only intermittent flashes of disturbing images. Extraordinarily disturbing and upsetting, the compounding harshness of sound with no images and then images with no sound leaves us devastated. Some of the short films work better than other, but without doubt, my favourite is that of French director Claude LeLouch, whose theme of silence is the most poignant, evoking the greatest emotional response. Using the notion of 11 minutes of silence to pay homage to those who died, LeLouch’s narrative involves a deaf mute female photographer who lives in a world of silence. Her relationship is on the rocks and it will only take a miracle for them to remain together. We witness the miracle, and it is a wonderful moment. The sequence of events – played in silence – moves us to tears. Whether you can relate to each segment is ultimately up to you, but 11’09’01 is an extraordinary piece of filmmaking, which should be seen by everyone.
Published August 14, 2003
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DIRECTOR: Ken Loach, Claude Lelouch, Sean Penn, Danis Tanovic, Mira Nair, Shohei Imamura, Samira Makhmalbaf, Amos Gitai, Youssef Chahine, Alejandro Gonzales Inarritu, Idrissa Oudrago
RUNNING TIME: 130 minutes
PRESENTATION: Anamorphic widescreen; enhanced for 16 : 9
SPECIAL FEATURES: none
DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Magna Pacific
DVD RELEASE: (rental) August 13, 2003 (retail): December 10, 2003