Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Hollywood Does 9/11

The trailer for the aforementioned "Flight 93" caused such upset that it was pulled from some theaters after patrons complained.

This prompted New York film critic David Edelstein to ask whether Hollywood should be in the 9/11 business and can it be trusted to deal with it responsibly.

Edelstein happens to think "Flight 93" is a good movie, which helps skew his answer to both questions to an emphatic yes:

It is never too soon for an artist to grapple with a national trauma and its repercussions in the collective psyche. Nearly five years have passed since 9/11, and the events of that day have permeated popular culture at all levels, from the inchoate yearnings of an English physician in Ian McEwan’s novel "Saturday," to the burgeoning rage of young terrorists in "Syriana," to the torture-first-fill-out-paperwork-later ethos of the hero in TV’s "24." Yes, depictions of 9/11 still dredge up emotions that are difficult to bear. But the process of framing and reframing the tragedy is vital to our healing. We will relive 9/11 anyway, in our nightmares. The best defense is to face it head-on. As Nietzsche wrote, “Dare to be tragic men, and ye shall be redeemed.”

Meanwhile, "Saint of 9/11" will have its world premiere tomorrow night at the Tribeca Film Festival in Manhattan. It will open in Philadelphia on May 5 before it goes into national distribution.

"Saint of 9/11" is a feature-length documentary about Father Mychal Judge, a 68-year-old priest and New York Fire Department chaplain. It is narrated in his own words by legendary actor Sir Ian McKellan.

Father Mike, as everyone called him, was the subject of one of my first Kiko’s House posts, which was written on the occasion of the pedophile coddling Vatican releasing an encyclical barring gay priests and gays who want to become priests.

I reprint part of the post here:

Father Mike was uptown at the Church of St. Francis of Assisi, where he ministered to the wealthy and homeless alike, when the first plane crashed into the North Tower of the World Trade Center . . . He donned his FDNY chaplain’s uniform and rushed to the towers, where he briefly paused to pray with Mayor Rudolph Giuliani before running over to a dead firefighter and a woman who had fallen on him after jumping from the North Tower.

Father Mike had removed his fireman's helmet to administer the last rites and was anointing Firefighter Danny Suhr and the woman with holy water when he was struck in the back of the head and mortally wounded by a chunk of falling debris.

You may not realize that you know who Father Mike was until you reflect on the image above. Reuters photographer Shannon Stapleton's photograph, one of the most gripping images to come out of that horrific day, is a modern day Pietá. Yes, that’s Father Mike on the makeshift gurney.

You probably also didn’t know that Father Mike was an acknowledged homosexual. And so beloved that his death certificate bears the number 00001 – the first official World Trade Center casualty.

But as inspiring as Father Mike’s life may have been, not to mention his bravery on 9/11, he would not have been welcome in today’s Roman Catholic Church, which according to its new policy believes that gays "have no social value" and, moreover, "no moral virtue."

That truly is a sin.

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