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11'09"01 (11 September 2001)

Threat advisory: Severe - Severe risk of entertaining activities

Movie propaganda

After the events of 11 September 2001, artistic producer Alain Brigand asked 11 esteemed filmmakers to contribute a short film to a collection which would be screened internationally. Inspired by the events of the day, they all had complete artistic freedom, but each director was to observe a strict format, a duration of 11 minutes, 9 seconds and 1 frame - or 11'09"01.

Theatrical propaganda posters

11-09-01 (11 September 2001) image

Target demographic movie keyword propaganda

  • Film drama terror attack world short format response

Persons of interest

  • Sabrina Dhawan .... Screenwriter
  • Paul Laverty .... Screenwriter
  • Marie-Jose Sanselme .... Screenwriter
  • Daisuke Tengan .... Screenwriter
  • Pierre Uytterhoeven .... Screenwriter
  • Vladimir Vega .... Screenwriter
  • Youssef Chahine .... Screenwriter
  • Youssef Chahine .... Director
  • Amos Gitai .... Screenwriter
  • Amos Gitai .... Director
  • Alejandro González Iñárritu .... Screenwriter
  • Alejandro González Iñárritu .... Director
  • Claude Lelouch .... Screenwriter
  • Claude Lelouch .... Director
  • Ken Loach .... Screenwriter
  • Ken Loach .... Director
  • Samira Makhmalbaf .... Screenwriter
  • Samira Makhmalbaf .... Director
  • Idrissa Ouedraogo .... Screenwriter
  • Idrissa Ouedraogo .... Director
  • Sean Penn .... Screenwriter
  • Sean Penn .... Director
  • Danis Tanovic .... Screenwriter
  • Danis Tanovic .... Director
  • Shohei Imamura .... Director
  • Mira Nair .... Director

Cinematic intelligence sources

Intelligence analyst

Special Agent Matti

Theatrical report

What the world saw. There aren't many big screen shots of planes hitting buildings in glorious Technicolour and surround sound, just occasional glimpses on TV sets and some quick grabs of people leaping out of windows. 11'09"01 is an educational film about how people all over the world, well, above the equator, reacted to the events, on the day. It is most educational if you are an American because it tells you without mincing words why the attacks happened: people don't like Americans. You are opinionated without facts, you are interfering without compassion, you are good at sport, most especially jumping to conclusions.

Watching 11 short films back to back is pretty challenging, as is the diversity of the films (languages, subtitles, Styles, stories, etc.). The subject matter was the easy part. Like any good anthology, 11'09"01 starts at the qualitative mid-point to get your attention, dips a little while you're still fresh and in an open state of mind then picks up toward the zinger at the end. The last three films, belonging to Mira Nair, Sean Penn and Shohei Imamura are the three best. Mira's film strikes to the heart of the matter: defining good and evil (a Moslem branded a terrorist for 6 months until it was learned that he was a hero) in a way that also tears at your heartstrings. Sean's film is a metaphor for the light of reality banishing the joy of self-delusion, in which the destruction of the World Trade Towers is an almost incidental aside. Shohei's film is the middle path of reason and enlightenment, admonishing both sides against the evil of excess in a strikingly beautiful and well-crafted story.

The funny part is that the over-film refers to it as "September 11" despite being called "11 September". It's yet another piece of American cultural imperialism, like the way that Microsoft Word automatically chooses USA English as its default language.

Where were you at the time of the attacks? I was going to bed when the phone rang and a friend said to turn on the TV, which was a good idea because it had the best special effects I've ever seen.

FYI: The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) (note the use of Z rather than S) recommends that dates use one of two formats: DD/MM/YYYY (small/medium/large: 11/09/2001) or YYYY/MM/DD (large/medium/small: 2001/09/11) rather than the clumsy American style MM/DD/YYYY (medium/small/large or 09/11/2001).

Media intelligence (DVD)

  • Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound
  • Languages: Arabic, English
  • Picture: Widescreen (16:9 anamorphic)
  • Special features:
    • Trailer: Theatrical
  • Subtitles: English

Security censorship classification

M (Adult themes)

Surveillance time

130 minutes (2:10 hours)

Not for public release in Australia before date

Film: 21 November 2002 - Melbourne
Film: 28 November 2002 - Sydney
Film: 28 November 2002 - Brisbane
Film: Undated March 2003 - Perth International Film Festival
DVD rental: 13 August 2003
VHS rental: 13 August 2003

Cinema surveillance images

11-09-01 (11 September 2001) image11-09-01 (11 September 2001) image11-09-01 (11 September 2001) image11-09-01 (11 September 2001) image11-09-01 (11 September 2001) image11-09-01 (11 September 2001) image11-09-01 (11 September 2001) image11-09-01 (11 September 2001) image11-09-01 (11 September 2001) image11-09-01 (11 September 2001) image

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Directors' statements

Why did you want to be involved?

Alejandro González Iñárritu - Mexico

  • I realised that rather than a political or philosophical stance, it was an opportunity to express and to exorcise, alongside an incredible collection of directors, the fear, the darkness and the sorrow I lived and felt on that day.

Idrissa Ouedraogo - Burkina Faso

  • Making a film about the events of 11 September is my own way of contributing to a rebirth of conscience, of saying that hope exists despite everything, that it is the most important thing of all. Like all Africans, I was shocked by the violence of the attacks. Like them, I felt sympathy, for the pain of the families and for the American people. I am also waiting (like all Africans everywhere) for the same surge of solidarity with an Africa beset by malaria, AIDS, famine and drought.

Ken Loach - UK

  • The interpretation of these events has been dominated by a mass media which is largely subservient to and manipulated by politicians and the interests they represent - as you would expect. Other voices are necessary.

Shohei Imamura - Japan

  • Bush appealed to national solidarity and proclaimed his love of his country against the backdrop of the national flag. This image seemed somewhat excessive to me.

Claude Lelouch - France

  • I was so fascinated by the representation of these events in the media that I asked myself whether there was a single person on Earth who wasn't aware of what was happening.

Sean Penn - USA

  • The events of that day, tragic as they were, seemed to have been overwhelmingly co-opted by the masses and the media and somewhere inside all of us, I think, is not only the recognition of the losses and impact of those horrifying events but also of the mother who lost a son to a drunk driver on that day, to an overdose, a daughter to a murder, a father to an illness, etc. Loss comes every day and pain follows it. The question has always been how to be at peace with today and believe tomorrow can be better.

What events or personal experiences did you want to bring to light through your short? What personal echo to the events of 11 September?

Mira Nair - India

  • I wanted to make a statement against the current of Islamophobia that is sweeping the world since 11 September.

Danis Tanovic - Bosnia-Herzegovina

  • I thought for a long time about how I would do it, and I knew from the beginning that I wanted to do something which spoke about Bosnia; I wanted to show that someone who has lived through something terrible might perhaps understand better than others what really happened to those people. For me, the greatest tragedy of Bosnia was what happened in Srebrnica, on 11 July 1995. Since that date, on the 11th of every month, all the women of Srebrnica have demonstrated in the streets. That was my starting point.

Claude Lelouch - France

  • After you called me out of the blue, I went running, as I usually do when looking for ideas. And in the Bois de Boulogne, I came across a couple of deaf-mutes in deep conversation. Ever since Une fille et des fusils, I have been fascinated by this silent world. I wondered why not 11 minutes of silence in homage to all who died?

Samira Makhmalbaf - Iran

  • I wanted to show how the destruction of two towers in a western city could cause the destruction of many cities in non-Western countries. I wanted to show how people who have had no role in the destruction of those two towers, who did not even know that they existed, could become homeless and bereft of everything as a result of this incident.

Alejandro González Iñárritu - Mexico

  • I conceived this short film as a communal experience: a collective prayer with the Chamulas Indians from my country for those innocent people who died that day. These prayers from the people of Chiapas work as a mantra, and I have used them as a present from me and my country to help heal the wounds of that painful day. This offering is not only for the American people, but for humanity itself, for the event that took place, and for what has happened after that event. The Chamulas believe that you arrive to the light after a dark and painful process, but only if you are able to see and confront reality.

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