Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Not a moment too soon

Here's a good article on whether or not it's too soon for movies about 9/11. The conclusion: no. I agree. On some level I do understand the gut reaction against films like "United 93" or "World Trade Center" - after all, there's something obscene about the concept of exploiting tragedy for commercial gain, and it goes without saying that no major studio is going to release a film without thought of profit. Call me naive, though, but it seems highly unlikely that profit is the main motive driving these projects. I'm guessing it's a mix of motives, some nobler than others - the best being a genuine desire to honor those who died and the courage of those who tried to save others, the least worthy being the ambition to create an "important" movie that will be recognized as such. Goldstein's point is that historical events like 9/11 almost need to become the stuff of movies and other art while they're still relatively fresh - or else they risk being lost or obscured in our collective cultural memory.

And he's right. But I think the discomfort with having Hollywood take on 9/11 also goes back to a residual, knee-jerk assumption that movies - especially anything resembling a "disaster" movie, as opposed to a war movie or a Holocaust movie - are entertainment rather than art, whatever the fine line is between the two. And it feels wrong to be entertained by something that we know caused so much tragedy so recently. Is it any different, though from creating or contemplating "art" that aestheticizes pain, grief, and horror? The difference may be one of degree rather than anything else.

Let's be thankful, at least, that the green-lighting powers had enough sense not to turn these movies over to Michael Bay and/or Jerry Bruckheimer.


Blogger Tonio Kruger said...


3:01 PM  

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