September 11 (IMDB) (Netflix—not available)
Without expecting to enjoy the experience, I willingly accepted Sara K. "This will be good for you" Schneider's invitation to see this collection of short films on the most traumatic day in America's recent history. The subject had weight, the time lag would provide perspective on the event, and the global nature of the project would no doubt be educational.
I learned or confirmed several things; the easiest thing to lose in a short film is subtlety, much of the world is pretty pissed off at the United States, and, while I have any number of misgivings about the direction that the U.S. is taking, I don't take criticism from foreigners all that well. Afterwards, I was tempted to wallow in some Fox News flag-waving to even things out.
While four of the eleven films (from Iran's Samira Makhmalbaf, Mexico's Alejandro González Iñárritu, France's Claude Lelouch, and the U.S. entry from Sean Penn) were thoughtful, creative and/or powerful reflections on that day, many of the others seemed opportunitistic, heavy-handed political point-scoring exercises that will no doubt play better abroad. Sara reacted much more rationally, seeing an example of filmmaking's power to convey important messages.