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Collateral Damages and WTC: The First 24 Hours

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Two 9/11 documentaries by Etienne Sauret go beyond the facts to create mournful monuments to the catastrophe. In Collateral Damages (2003, 57 min.) firefighters, their faces haunted, describe seeing rivers of molten steel and each floor of the Twin Towers collapsed into an eight-inch layer, while intercut images of damaged fire trucks being deposited in a landfill offer an appropriate metaphor for their trauma. But Sauret's brief inclusion of the murderous retaliatory wishes of some of these lionized heroes is troublingly uncritical. WTC: The First 24 Hours (2002, 30 min.) is even better: "beautiful" images of sunlight through smoke are also images of carnage, and the long takes with fragmentary ambient sounds capture the disaster's enormous scale in a way still photos have not. Facets Cinematheque.

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