Tonight's Saturday Night Cinema is 9/11, the day of horror caught by chance by a French film crew documenting the 9-month rite of passage of a newbie firefighter. Instead, we witness firsthand the actions the heroes who gave their lives to save their countrymen in the worst-ever attack on American soil in our nation's history. Jihad had come to America. This is a searing historical document. I have seen it many times. It shakes me still and reminds me how monstrous and evil the enemy is.
Also, please see also the documentary on how the victims trapped in the World Trade Center were forced to choose their method of execution, burning to death or jumping. Watch here: 911 The Falling Man
This film is the "accidental documentary" made by French brothers and film makers, Gedeon and Jules Naudet. The brothers were making a film about a young fire fighter during his 9-month probationary period. With the help of their friend, firefighter James Hanlon, there were given nearly unlimited access to all the goings-on at the firehouse, Engine 7, Ladder 1, on Duane Street in Lower Manhattan, less than ten blocks from the World Trade Center. Little did the brothers know that they would be the witness to history, just three months after they began their project.
Gedeon is the older brother, and the avid film maker. But, by the time of 9/11, an additional camera had been purchased for Jules for "camera practice." Jules is with the Battalion Chief, Joseph Pfeifer, and 13 other fire fighters from the house, filming as they investigate an odor of gas at 8:46 am on Tuesday morning, September 11, 2001. They are standing in the path of the plane as it flies over and hits Tower 1, and Jules is filming the entire time. His is the only footage of the attack on Tower 1. The reaction of the firefighters is immediate, as they take off for the Trade Center, a place they previously would visit up to five times a day on a shift. They know the Trade Center perhaps better than any other firehouse in Manhattan. But, nothing has prepared them for this.
What transpires is the only known footage of the struggle of the firefighters inside Tower 1 as they try to figure out what to do in the chaos and confusion. They had seen it all, they thought, but this was something they hadn't prepared for. The film is very sensitively edited, so you don't see the blood or the gore or the bodies, you only hear about them. The focus in this film is on the brotherhood of the firemen, what was going on in the towers while the rest of the world looked on, helplessly. How men who make less money than half of the City are the ones who rush into the burning buildings, and who do not hesitate to lay down their lives while saving others. It is the tale of a true brotherhood, of men who are doing jobs handed down to them from generations before. It is more than a story of 9/11, it is the story of the world of New York fire fighters.
Before 9/11 happens, we see the inside of the firehouse, how the young "Probie", Tony Benatanos, is brought into the fold, how the firemen interact and eat together and needle each other. The French brothers did not set out to make a documentary on 9/11, certainly, but fate dealt a hand. This is the most extensive, mind-boggling film, and the DVD contains extended interviews with the firemen, who have seen so much, but still seem to be in shock about what they saw that day.
James Hanlon narrates this film beautifully, and the brothers are interviewed describing that terrible day. The firemen are truly amazing, the footage is incredible, and, if you only see one documentary on this horrible day, this is the one to see. It truly portrays the victims, the heroes, and the survivors sensitively, honestly, and shockingly. It is unforgettable.
President Obama's ban on al qaeda and jihad, Bloomberg's ban on clergy and first responders will not stand. Come to the real 911 ceremony of remembrance at Ground Zero on 911 at 3:00pm on Park Place and West Broadway.
It is incumbent upon every American to remember and honor our war dead. Never forget. Join us as we honor the victims and rededicate ourselves to fighting for freedom on September 11 at West Broadway and Park Place at our 911 Freedom Rally. One 9/11 family member remarked: “I am looking forward to the rally. It is a place we can be free to really remember the who, why, when and where of 9/11. The morning ceremony” – that is, the official ceremony, from which clergy and 9/11 first responders – “is devoid of any meaning.”