One of the Darkest Days in American History: 11’09”01 (2002)

By Maria Moss and Sabrina Völz

Sep­tem­ber 11, 2021, marks the 20th anniver­sary of the most hor­ren­dous ter­ror­ist attack on Amer­i­can soil. In a series of four coor­di­nat­ed attacks on the World Trade Center’s north and south tow­ers, the west side of the Pen­ta­gon, and Unit­ed Air­lines flight 93 that crashed near Shanksville, PA, almost 3,000 peo­ple lost their lives.

11’09”01: Sep­tem­ber 11 pro­vides one of the first cin­e­mat­ic respons­es to the attacks as well as to ter­ror­ism around the world. In films last­ing exact­ly 11 min­utes, 9 sec­onds, and 1 frame, 11 acclaimed film­mak­ers from 11 dif­fer­ent coun­tries and cul­tures pro­vide us with not only deeply touch­ing, but also provoca­tive and dis­turb­ing moments.

No restric­tions were imposed on con­tent or approach, and not every­one will agree with the deeply per­son­al respons­es and often con­tro­ver­sial crit­i­cisms of the film­mak­ers – among them Sean Penn, Ken Loach, Mira Nair and Ale­jan­dro Gon­za­lez Inar­ritu. In the Unit­ed States, peo­ple can watch the film on Ama­zon Prime; in oth­er places of the world, locat­ing it is a bit more of a chal­lenge. How­ev­er, you can watch episode 10, “The Unit­ed States of Amer­i­ca,” direct­ed by Sean Penn (star­ring Ernest Borg­nine) below:

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