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« Flight 93: Somebody SAW it like I hoped he would. | Main | Budapest: L'Éternel Retour 30.4.06 [FR] »

Flight "United 93" sparks disunion

The Sunday, April 30 New York Times ("Films of Infamy") has a Hollywood movie expert, David Thomson, looking into Paul Greengrass' film "United 93" ("The Flight that fought Back", see previous post here). The movie was released this week in the US. We in Europe should wait a little longer.
Resuming roughly his point of view: The movie is not to be compared to flat one-sided celebrations of heroism like "Pearl Harbour" (2001). It is more like movies that opened a better balanced view on shocking historical events, like "Schindler's List" or "Munich".
Underlying question is: Is America ready for such a balanced regard? Showing violence and destruction in the media, omitting the consequences, cannot be the problem, Thomson says:

"Indeed, if you wish to understand how America is now perceived in the rest of the world, then you have to see the paradox (there are other words) in selling mass destruction and then wondering whether the American public is "ready" for "United 93"."
Understanding the other side, the enemy, the terrorist: That is still a very massive taboo, when it comes to "9/11". Those who did (slightly), and do not tune in with Bush, are "blaming America", a deadly sin.
So it happens, that the "Blamerica!"-comments are to be expected gulping in now.
That is a pity.
It is at least not the debate I hoped for.
For, to be forgotten soon, there is also in Thomson's comment this observation, that should provoke some afterthoughts about better ways to deal with insecurity and terrorism:
"This is a picture about American courage and enterprise. It need not be a training film, but it is about the way we all might hope to behave. It is a rousing affirmation of a war effort, not very different from, say, "30 Seconds Over Tokyo" (1944), which reveled in the Doolittle "gotcha" after Pearl Harbor. Similarly, the big American movie on the Holocaust waited on our discovery of Oskar Schindler — our way of making films requires heroes, even if sometimes a hero is like poison in the muddied water."
Like I said in the previous post, this is the true revelation within the "Flight 93" story: The self-defense- and the self-management capacities of communities, even temporary ones like this group of passengers and crew. What happened, is what any group or community (an American, for sure, but also any non-American) is capable of:
"it is about the way we all might hope to behave" [...] "even if sometimes a hero is like poison in the muddied water."
Indeed, what "93" is about, is a non-official way of every-day heroism, maybe nasty, maybe considered as "poisonous" for quiet and obedient citizenship.
But not so by me.

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