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Scenes of New York come to life in ‘9/11’ at IU Cinema

POSTED AT 12:55 AM ON Sep. 9, 2011 

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Two brothers are filming a documentary about New York firefighters. One man is at the fire station. The other is inside a flaming tower. Neither knows the fate of his brother. The day is Sept. 11, 2001.

Their film, “9/11,” honors the memory of the victims on the 10th anniversary of the World Trade Center attacks with an exclusive screening at 6:30 p.m. Sunday at the IU Cinema.

“9/11,” made by Gedeon and Jules Naudet, was selected by a committee for the College of Arts and Sciences’ Themester series as an appropriate film to commemorate the lives lost.

“This film is the most direct film related to 9/11, because a lot of the original footage was captured right there at the time by these two French filmmakers,” said Jon Vickers, director of the IU Cinema.

Telecommunications Professor Ron Osgood recommended “9/11” to the Themester committee based on the film’s historical and personal ties to the events on the ground that day.

“It’s interesting, because their story about this probationary firefighter changed dramatically with the twist and turn of what happened on that day,” Osgood said.

He explained that not only does the documentary include some of the only footage of the first plane hitting the tower, but it contains the only known images filmed from inside the tower during the attack.

“You’re intimately brought into the scene in a way that no news coverage ever could do,” Osgood said. “It’s a fascinating story of the tragedy told from a unique perspective.”

Vickers added how crucial the actions of these filmmakers were to the way we visualize and remember the day.

“Some of the shots that were used over and over again by the press were from these actual filmmakers on the ground,” Vickers said. “It’s not just news coverage. It seems to be very personal.”

The film fits nicely into this year’s theme, “Making War, Making Peace,” which Professor Steve Watt admitted could be controversial in Themester’s goal to “talk about 9/11 in a wide variety of perspectives.”

“A topic like this one could tend to create some controversy or disagreement,” Watt said. “Our aim is to create an environment in which an informed and civil dialogue can be held about political, historical and other kinds of important questions. That is our ambition.”

Vickers said he agrees this film, the Themester series and the 20 other films being screened in connection with the College of Arts and Sciences are a great addition to the fall lineup.

“There are hundreds, if not thousands, of films that could be tied into this,” Vickers said. “It’s very important for us as the cinema, being an academic unit, to be involved in initiatives like this. This is an ideal opportunity for us to show how we do that.”

Osgood said he believes the reason the film resonates so strongly has to do with the role 9/11 played in this college generation’s youth.

“The impact of 9/11 and what that meant in your life is similar to the events that took place in any generation’s life,” Osgood said. “How do we consider that act of terrorism in the role of war and peace?”

Ultimately, however, Osgood said “9/11” is a film about the people on the ground during the tragedy.

“It’s a way for us to reflect on what the emergency workers did to go beyond the call of duty to try to save the lives of the people that were in this tragic event,” Osgood said. “We gain an incredible respect for what they went through and what they did that day.”

 

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