“Non-Partisan” Film About 9/11 Opens in Edinburgh
A British film about September 11 whose protagonist is Islamic mass murderer Ziad Jarrah has premiered at the Edinburgh Film Festival: World premiere for controversial September 11 docu-drama.
LONDON (AFP) - The first major screen adaptation of the events leading up to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in the United States received its world premiere in the Scottish capital Edinburgh. “Hamburg Cell”, a drama documentary about the lives of the Al-Qaeda hijackers, had its first public screening at the Edinburgh International Film Festival. …
The British film is based entirely on real life characters and has as its focus Ziad Jarrah, one of the alleged September 11 terrorists.
It follows his journey from being a well-off student in the northern German city of Hamburg, through to his conversion to jihad and his death aboard United Airlines flight 93. …
Speaking on the red carpet outside the UGC cinema complex at Edinburgh’s Fountain Park, director Antonia Bird said it felt like “coming home” to be at the festival, where three of her other films have had world premieres in previous years.
“It was completely different for me — a new experience to make a drama documentary,” Bird said. “It was a real learning curve about the subject.”
“Ever since the events I started thinking about who the people were who occupied these roles. We knew nothing of them so I found it fascinating to discover how these men got involved. What was behind their motivation? What pushed them to being on those planes?”
Anyone want to bet whether Israel gets blamed as a motivation for the hijackers?
Here’s a review of the film that praises it for its “even-handedness.”
All conjecture, of course - yet credit must go here to director Antonia Bird and screenwriter Ronan Bennett, who were surely aware of the risks, creative and otherwise, this enterprise entailed. For Bennett in particular, it’s a breakthrough: some of his previous writing has displayed a slightly naïve belief in the terrorist-as-hero; here, though, his tone is measured, his approach resolutely non-partisan. It’s indicative of the film’s even-handedness that it might be read in radically different ways, depending on one’s perspective and beliefs. Were the viewer a fundamentalist Muslim sympathetic to jihad, it could be seen as a celebration, a rallying-call to the faithful. Whereas, for hawkish neo-cons, it must seem like a journey into the heart of darkness, a study of pure evil. However, for most of us, adrift in the centre and sickened by both extremes, it’s a document of ideological corruption, the unthinkable made flesh.
Ideological corruption, unthinkable, sure, all that icky stuff—but not evil. That’s such a judgmental word. Please don’t disturb us with such absolutist concepts as we fashionably drift around in the center with no freaking convictions or souls.