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August 16, 2005

Tracking Flight 93

S.T. VanAirsdale at The Reeler, a great new-to-me film blog, passes along the news that filmmaker Paul Greengrass has been given the go-ahead to make Flight 93, a real-time version of the 9/11 hijacking that ended with the plane crashing in rural Pennsylvania. This follows pretty qucikly in the wake of the announcement that Oliver Stone has begun making a 9/11 film. In his treatment, Greengrass writes:

I ... believe that sometimes, if you look clearly and unflinchingly at a single event, you can find in its shape something precious, something much larger than the event itself ... the DNA of our times. Hence, a film about Flight 93.
I'll admit that I'm curious about the idea of a real-time film of the hijacking, in part because it seems consistent with the modes of crisis and catastrophe that Mary Ann Doane associated with live television broadcasts, but to claim that you're looking "clearly and unflinchingly" at anything that happened on September 11, without the existing frames and narratives that have developed around it ("Let's roll") seems misguided at best. It may seem obvious to suggest that the film will distort these events by emphasizing their "immediacy," but those distortions are far from trivial when it comes to definitions of national identity.

Given how quickly this announcement follows the news of Stone's film, I'm curious about these attempts to dramatize the events of September 11, which as Nick points out, had been relatively rare. These fictional representations seem caught up in the same sentiment that has led to the planned Freedom Walk, Department of Defense event to memorialize victims of the September 11 attacks, which has been criticized for serving primarily as a rally of support for the war in Iraq (specifically given that it will culminate in a concert by Clint "I Raq and I Roll" Black).

Posted by chuck at August 16, 2005 1:46 PM

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