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11’09″01 (FRANCE 2002, 134′) Dir.: Amos Gitaï, Ken Loach, Sean Penn, Alejandro González Iñárritu, Claude Lelouch, Danis Tanovich and others. | My rating: 4 stars| Official site | dvd

Eleven different directors, from eleven different parts of the world, give their own, very personal vision on September 11, 2001. An eclectic company of Samira Makhmalbaf (Iran), Claude Lelouch (France), Youssef Chahine (Egypt), Danis Tanovic (Bosnia), Idrissa Ouedraogo (Burkina Faso), Ken Loach (UK), Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu (Mexico), Amos Gitaï (Israël), Mira Nair (India), Sean Penn (USA) and Shoei Imamura (Japan) were each given total freedom to make a short film of 11 minutes, 9 seconds and one frame.

From an Afghan refugee camp in Iran, where a teacher does not succeed to have respect her pupils one minute of silence, to the women of Srebenica who mourn their lost ones the 11th of every month. For the Chileans, 11 September is another day to remember than the one in 2001. In 1973 general Pinochet graps the power in a violent coup d’état with the support of the United States, killing democratically elected Salvador Allende. The resulting films are sometimes breathtaking, but all are thought-provoking.

Maybe the psychologically most intense contribution is the one by Alejandro González Iñárritu (the director of Amores Perros), because the screen is black for almost 11 minutes, with only soundbites of the day itself, including the messages some passengers of the doomed flights left on the voicemail of their beloved ones. In sharp contrast is Sean Penn’s contribution. He tells the story of an old man, who lives in an dark apartment, and who is still very much in love with his deceased wife. The falling towers have a very particular effect on his life.

This project, would it have been produced in the USA, could have been a patriottic pamflet. It is however, and fortunately, a French production, so some contributions are politically incorrect, but all are undoubtely sincere. It is a wonderful and personal document that deserves to be seen by a worldwide audience.

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