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11'09''01 - September 11 Review

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In the aftershock of the events of September 11 last year, 11 directors from around the world offer personal responses, either in the form of short works of fiction (Lelouch, Makhmalbaf, Nair, Ouedraogo, Tanovic, Penn), art statements (Chahine, Gitai, Iñá

★★★★★

The arrogance of filmmakers can be staggering sometimes. As the world recoiled from the world’s worst peacetime atrocity, 11 filmmakers were given $400,000 to make a short film that lasted 11 minutes, nine seconds and one frame — and to be honest, the money would be better going to charity. Without Ken Loach’s superb, standout entry, this is self-indulgent tripe.

Using the events of another Tuesday September 11 — this one in 1973, when the CIA helped Chilean dictator General Pinochet to overthrow the elected government and begin his reign of terror — Loach offers a stunning indictment of America’s double standards.

The rest of this compendium, though, varies from the vaguely interesting (Nair), to the pointless (Imamura). And then there’s the plain terrible (Chahine). But this pales next to Sean Penn’s boring folly, the pretentious story of a man living in the shadow of the twin towers, complete with dripping taps and billowing curtains. No words can describe 9/ll. Please, no more films.

Ken Loach’s entry aside, this is a self-indulgent bid to wring arthouse kudos from tragedy.