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High-profile film-makers line-up for September 11 omnibus

Penn, Loach and makers of Monsoon Wedding and Amores Perros contribute segments to controversial film which looks at diverse reactions to the terrorist attacks around the world

Guardian Unlimited staff
Tuesday August 27, 2002

Sean Penn
Sean Penn (pictured), Ken Loach and Oscar-winning Bosnian director Denis Tanovic are among 11 high-profile international film-makers who have each contributed a segment to a new film which aims to document different views on September 11.

Each director on 110901 was given exactly 11 minutes and nine seconds to play with, and none was permitted any information about the projects being developed by the others.

The result of the French-financed omnibus, which will premiere at the Venice Film Festival on September 6, is a viewing experience which is unlikely to fit snugly with middle America's perspective on the events surrounding the tragedy. Indeed initial US press reports have labelled sections of the film "anti-American" in tone.

Loach's section reminds viewers of another event which took place on September 11, namely the 1973 coup by General Augusto Pinochet against Chile's President Salvador Allende, which was endorsed by then head of the National Security Council Henry Kissinger and president Richard Nixon.

However five of the directors involved denied any anti-US bias when interviewed in Paris recently, arguing instead that they hoped to put the terrorist attacks in a more global context and bring attention to injustice beyond America's borders.

Other directors include two-time Palme d'Or winner Shohei Imamura of Japan, India's Mira Nair of Monsoon Wedding fame and Amores Perros film-maker Alejandro Gonzáles Iñárritu. A controversial moment comes when Egypt's Youssef Chahine uses a conversation with the ghost of an American Marine killed in Lebanon to suggest that Palestinian suicide bombers believe their actions to be justified.

Meanwhile, a trio of Italian film-makers are set to premiere their film about the aftermath of the US and British military intervention in Afghanistan last October.

Alberto Vendemmiati, Fabrizio Lazzaretti and Giuseppe Petitto's Afghanistan Year 1380 documents efforts by Italian doctor Gino Strada and humanitarian group Emergency to administer medical attention to Afghans after bombs and lawlessness ripped the country apart. It will air on America's PBS network next month.

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