L4 Blog 1

11’09″01 September 11 is a 2002 international film composed of 11 contributions from different filmmakers, each from a different country. Each gave their own vision of the 9-11 attack in NY  in a short film of 11 minutes, 9 seconds, and one frame.  As with any film of this nature, some segments are stronger than others. Of the four shorts we have viewed, discuss your thoughts on the various styles of the directors, and how they chose to tell their stories.

15 responses

  1. The thing that impressed me about the Iranian director’s segment was how they (the characters, the teacher and the students) tried to put themselves in the shoes of the victims of the attack, by standing under the high chimney, standing in silence, even though the children were not that successful at it. Therefore, that segment effected me plot wise. The French director’s segment, on the other hand, seemed more artistic. We see the woman writing the email and the collapsing towers on the television in the same shot, and that creates a contrast. The woman is in the house, hears no sound, she is in her own private and serene world. Yet, out in the city, the towers are breaking down, there is death and pain.

  2. The Iranian 9/11 short film focuses on how the Afghani refugees in Iran, especially children, perceived the attack on the world trade center. The film opens with a shot showing a group of people extracting water from a well. It is later revealed that Afghani children and adults alike are building some sort of shelter from bricks as a means of defending themselves against the possibility of a United States’ bombing. However, the teacher, who gathers the children for a class, proclaims that nothing can protect them against a bomb. Things take an interesting turn after this for the teacher asks the large group of unwashed and disorganized children what happened on that particular day which held global significance. The children’s responses reveal that they have no knowledge of the collapse of the twin towers, and their knowledge is limited to familial and social issues in their own small community. A frequently used shot in this film is medium close ups focusing on the children’s expressions, body language and appearance. The film also includes dialogues between the children concerning God and whether or not he willed the towers to collapse. Moreover, in certain scenes low angle shots and high angle shots are used. For instance, a high angle shot reveals the dark depths of the well in the opening scene. On the other hand, a low angle shot is used to capture the image of the tower-like structure the children are forced to stare at in order to be able to comprehend the size of a tower and the extent of the destruction caused by a tower’s collapse. All in all, the film mostly focuses on the desperateness and obliviousness of the Afghani refugees, especially children (Even the concept of a tower is foreign to the children and the entire community has no means to defend itself against an attack).

  3. As for the French director’s take on the events of 9/11…The various shifts in point of view were very disconcerting albeit effective in creating a contrast not only between the perspectives of people with hearing disabilities and the people without such disabilities but also between those who have experienced 9/11 personally and those who have not. Along with the switching point of views (which included switches between silence and sound) I have also found the camera proxemics and positioning to be very clever. The scene in which the audience could see both the collapse of the twin towers (an event that in return affected the entire world) and the woman writing a letter (a deeply personal event) was very interesting, and the absence of sound only added to its effect.

  4. In the Iranian approach to the event was hopeful yet slightly biased I believe. How Afghan refugees are struggling to protect themselves by making bricks and their naiveness towards the issue is obvious but although they are blamed for the attack and the teacher is still working towards enlightening the new generation. I particularly liked the dolly shot of the teacher trying to incentivize attending to school on that particular day. It was both meaningful and rhythmic. The humane side that is tried to be transferred to the children is hopeful and positive but I questioned why only that aspect of the reaction of Iranian and Afghan people are reflected.

    The senses were the dominant part of the French director’s version of the 9/11. Being deaf is understood as a major disability by the woman however it prevented her from processing a life-changing shock as it kept her from hearing the bad news. I also was intrigued by the parallelism between the relationship of the woman and the man and how it clashes at the same time with the twin towers. When the woman decided that she is leaving the man and America, the event took place and it was a very clever approach. Afterwards, like the Iranian director’s version, there maybe was hope to restore damaged relations.

  5. Both short films addressed an event that has impacted the entire plant. There is no doubt that 9/11 has changed all our lives and these short film aimed to represent this. Were they able to do it, is another question entirely. First off, the Iranian film to me felt forced. It was unfathomable to believe that Afghani refugees would likely believe that the death of American civilians was more important than what day face daily. Politically I believe the director tried to convey a message of solidarity but he/she failed to put into account the realities of Iran and Afghanistan. To me this made all other efforts of cinematography and editing non-exisitent to the viewer. Though it is important to note that the film did give insight into how Afghani refugees live. I felt the director took his liberty of being in charge of the film a step too far. Unfortunately this attempt was the fall back of a short film that could have been interesting to see especially to factor in the Muslim aspect of the issue. The French film on the other hand put a distinct element into the film. I liked the whole idea of addressing the issue of handicapped/special needs people since they were also affected by this event like the most of us. I really enjoyed the juxtaposition of the woman and the television channel reporting live from the scene. Also the thrill of seeing if the man was affected or not, really impacted the audience. The filming was simple but following the lead woman around and of course the film being silent gave a real look into the lives of these people and their frustration with the silence they are forced to live with. Also the use of sound when the man is there also shows the different lives we must live and how we take for granted something so basic and fundamental. To conclude I felt the Iranian film was forced and bias while the French film was very daunting and heartbreaking/warming at the same time.

    • Great critique – as a film viewer, critic, and avid film student, you’ve learned that the cinema experience is not a passive one!
      I, too, loved the simplicity of the French film, and believe that the director accomplished the suspension of disbelief with his use of sound. Do you suppose that the fact that the woman is deaf carries any implicit meaning to the story?
      As for your thoughts on the Iranian film, consider the branch of cultural studies called reception theory which studies how an audience receives and evaluates elements of film. The “reception theory” holds that media and film has no inherent meaning in and of itself. Instead, meaning is created in the interaction between spectator and text, as the viewer watches and processes the film. Read more about it here http://www.filmreference.com/encyclopedia/Independent-Film-Road-Movies/Reception-Theory.html

  6. Among the short movies we saw French Director’s one impressed me most/ Using perspective of the woman who can/t hear was pretty strong and shifts between loud and silent scenes could be considered as a directorial accomplishment. I think it demostrates a perfect precident of the inside world of the woman through giving a remarkable approach to 9-11 events. My second favourite was Bosnian one. It was a little irony to mention Serbian Genocide in a movie which focuses on the aftermath and reflection to their country after a Western City aimed terror asasult. Ironically what happened in Bosnia was a stain for Europe which was unfortunate that it didnt get the similar spotlight on them like NYC. The ending could be the most intriguing part since it is an evidence that value of the lives changes according to geographical location. Iran one is also a significant piece because of showing that Middle-Eastern people can also empathy and understand American’s sorrow though death is a daily remnant for them

  7. The thing that impressed me in the movie is different perspectives. While the bombing is happening in America, some people have different problems which are reflected in the movie.The Iranian 9/11 short film is showing Afghani refugees in Iran. I love the teacher because she tries to show some respect who are dead at America. Some of the parts are not quite clear like the deaf scene and the man who came out of water. I mean the results are not given, it is just the perspectives included. The movie tries to explain that bombing a world’s trade center is not a good idea for also other countries, because it based on different countries and different problems. Some are not really worried about America but themselves. If the America was bombed, they will bomb our poor country surely and that really worries them.

  8. French directors film was better than the Iranian directors short film, because Frrench director put an affective story in his/her film. It touches your heart, the idea was great. But I realize some missing parts which couldn’t express perfectly. But i think the idea of being deaf and not knowing about the real life is the best part.
    Iranians short film was a direct reflection of the life in Iran, what they really think about the event. The children was so realistic i like their acting

    • What techniques did the French director, Claude Lelouch, use in his film to make the story so effective, as you say? You liked the idea of incorporating a deaf person in the story, give a specific example of how he portrayed her. You might mention the cinematography, the light, or sound, etc.

  9. The Iranian director shows Afghani refugees in Iran. While a teacher is gathering her children, the audience sees people building a shelter to protect themselves from a possible bomb attack. After the teacher gathers all children together, she says that a brick wall can’t protect them from a bomb. Then she asks if anyone knows what big event happened. As children talk about what happened in their village (more of social issues), the audience sees their innocence through their expressions and body languages. On the other hand, the French director reflects the differences between the people who experienced 9/11 and who didn’t. The audience sees the explosion of the twin towers on the TV as a deaf woman writes a letter on her computer. I believe seeing these two contrast events in the same shot creates an awareness of the situation. In both films there is an element of innocence: the children and the deaf woman.

  10. There are of course differences between the four short films as well as similarities. Although they all focus on one specific event, their ways of expressing events make the audience reexperience the event in every movie. It is certain that most of the people feel some particular emotions like sadness or affliction when they hear or think about 9/11. But these directors add some other emotions to these ones. For example the French director Claude Lelouch makes us pity about the handicapped women in addition to our emotions about 9/11.

    The Iranian one also illustrates another issue within the 9/11 and it also mentions some of the possible effects of 9/11 on the entire world. The teacher calls 9/11 a terrible event which may cause World War III.

    The American one is of course the one which focus on 9/11 most because 9/11 happened in USA and Americans are the ones who felt the effects of it the most. This movie also tries to mention the back side of the 9/11. The ghost thing may seem stupid to us but it may also be meaningful to some Americans.

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