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Burgoyne, Robert. "The Topical Film: United 93 and World Trade Center." The Hollywood Historical Film. Malden: Blackwell Pub., 2008. 148-69.
Both films are attempts to "act out" rather than "work through" a historical trauma. Both films address a decisive alteration of the narrative of the nation, but they pull in different directions. United 93 ends, devastatingly, in blackout and silence. World Trade Center, on the other hand, asserts the possibility of rebirth. World Trade Center projects an "essential melancholy," whereas United 93 "attempts to break down the defenses of the audience in order to prevent the traumatic events . . . from being relegated to memory." United 93 functions like "a voice that cries out from the wound."
Chopra-Gant, Mike. Cinema and History: The Telling of Stories. London: Wallflower, 2008.
This book considers how film and history come in contact with one another. It looks at how films can be used as a form of evidence of discourses, attitudes, and values of what was happening in the culture at the time of the creation and release date. It talks about what is gained by films about historical events and how the historical analysis of these films can be undertaken. It includes a section about United 93 and how it uses real news coverage to convey a sense of reality, and the way in which it was difficult to re-create such an event when we are unsure of the truth of the situation. Chopra-Gant tells how we will now regard these events to be the actual history and charts the importance of films like these in American society.
Dixon, Wheeler Winston. Film and Television after 9/11. Carbondale: Southern Illinois UP, 2004.
Although it is printed before the actual release of United 93, this book combines the thoughts of eleven film scholars who discuss the production and reception of both foreign and Hollywood films after the events of September 11th. The book gives great insight into the post-9/11 reaction to films about it, re-viewing films created in the past in light of the attacks, and showing parallels between World War Two era productions and those that came from September 11th. The writers consider how the films were subject to "ideological slanting" and how this resonates to the entirety of American culture.
Doherty, Thomas. "United 93." Cineaste 31.4 (2006): 73-74.
Doherty discusses how Greengrass creates a sense of tension throughout the entire film. He critiques the camera work and audio that allow the atmosphere of the day to be felt by all members of the viewing audience. The history of the day is recreated as close as possible to the way it actually happened, showing the audience the truth of the horrible day. The director moves back and forth among many different things happening that day to accentuate the feelings of fear and frustration that were felt by those involved.
Farhi,Paul. "When Hollywood Makes History." Washington Post 28 April 2006.
For a critical account of the film's inaccuracy.
Greengrass, Paul. United 93: The Shooting Script. New York: W.W. Norton and Company, 2007.
Through this book put together by the director, he writes about the making of the film which re-creates what happened on the morning before, during, and after Flight 93 on September 11. It is filled with the complete shooting script of the film, a question and answer session with Greengrass himself, film reviews, photos, and more. It really gives the reader a sense of the creation of the film and the way in which Greengrass was able to successfully re-create the day through interviews with the family members aboard the flight. It is a very interesting and capturing book that describes the details of the movie and the cast.
Hoberman, J. "Unquiet Americans." Sight and Sound 16.10 (2006): 20-23.
Hoberman discusses what members of Congress requested of Hollywood's producers and directors following the terrorist attacks -- how the films were to re-create what happened on September 11 and how political activity should be involved and portrayed. The article is important in understanding the reality of the terrorist attacks and how the government responded to the film-making of such a historical event.
Jordan, John. "Transcending Hollywood: The Referendum on United 93 as Cinematic Memorial." Critical Studies in Media Communication 25.2 (2008): 196-223.
Jordan discusses the film's idea of memory of the events of September 11th -- the way in which the film commemorates the crew and passengers of Flight 93 and how the public reacted to such a controversial film. He discusses the problems that audiences had with film made so soon after the disastrous event and also whether the film was factual. Jordon analyzes the way in which the public reacted to an event that happened so close to the present day.
Kendrick, James. "Representing the Unrepresentable: 9/11 on Film and Television." Why We Fought: America's Wars in Film and History. Ed. Peter C. Rollins and John E. O'Connor. Lexington: UP of Kentucky, 2008.
Kendrick discusses the ramifications for presenting the events of September 11th in Hollywood. He discusses how films dealing with such an event must deal with the immense amount of trauma that was caused on this day. He compares television documentaries to Hollywood films and the way in which the films must include an aspect of heroism to allow people to cope with the trauma of the day. He discusses the way in which Greengrass created United 93 in a way that shows the unpreparedness of the day, while evoking a new sense of horror for the audience.
Mendelsohn, Daniel. "September 11 at the Movies." New York Review of Books 21 September 2006.
This article critiques the reality of United 93 and World Trade Center. Mendelsohn addresses the way in which Greengrass uses camera work to show the chaos and reality of the day and to present to the audience a feeling of horror as the events unfold. The article touches upon the way both films relate to the factual historical events and critiques the way in which both directors do this. Mendelsohn describes the complications of creating such films and questions whether either of them is successful.
Natoli, Joseph. This is a Picture and Not the World: Movies and a Post-9/11 America. Albany: State University of New York P, 2007.
Through this very insightful book, Natoli is able to make an account for popular film as being both a creator and a reflector of post-9/11 era. He draws on both contemporary and classic films to state his case and shows how every genre of film has been re-contextualized, recombined, and even parodied after the last few decades. He touches upon how film has altered the way in which the American public views things that have happened because of the use of different characters and perspectives on what may have actually happened. It connects the way in which cinema works and the post-9/11 culture of media in a very engaging manner.
Norris, Michelle. "Playing a Despised Terrorist: 'United 93'." All Things Considered (NPR)3 May 2006.
Interviews actor Omar Berdouni.
Pittman, Frank. "Screening Room -- World Trade Center and United 93 -- Fortunately, Hollywood's first efforts to deal with 9/11 succeed in giving larger meaning to what we saw and felt on that devastating day." Psychotherapy Networker 30.6 (2006): 77-81.
Pittman addresses the feelings that were felt by human beings around the world following the events of September 11th, 2001. In doing so, he talks about how the films United 93 and World Trade Center show the events of the day to remind us of the feelings that each of us felt that day. Both of the movies re-tell specific things that happened that day and portray the individuals involved in an extremely positive light. The audience is reminded of the devastation that many of us felt, but, most importantly, we are reminded of the bond that Americans have developed through the horrible events. Although Americans are collectively unable to forget the harshness of the day, Pittman shows how the films successfully create a sentimental feeling for the whole country.
Simpson, David. 9/11: The Culture of Commemoration. Chicago: U of Chicago P, 2006.
This book talks about the aftermath of 9/11 on the American public and the ways in which individuals commemorate what happened. Simpson discusses the way in which the events have been aestheticized, exploited, and appropriated in so many different ways, such as in film. He talks about the desperate rush the American public had to commemorate this event. Simpson presents the public with a picture of the cultural aftermath of the attacks on September 11th.
Smith, Gavin. "United 93 -- Paul Greengrass talks about filming the unfilmable." Film Comment 42.3 (2006): 24-29.
This article consists of an interview with Paul Greengrass in which he answers questions about his motives in creating United 93. The reader is able to understand why Greengrass did certain things in the film to make such a horrific day worth watching on the big screen. He discusses his camera work, the way in which he sequenced the events in the film, and his hopes for his film to be a success with audiences throughout America. Greengrass talks about the way in which he gathered information for the film and the reasons why he chose what to portray.
Spark, Alasdair, and Elizabeth Stuart. "Welcome Aboard: Faith, Life and Death in United 93." Journal of Religion and Popular Culture 15 (2007).
"This article analyses the depiction of religious belief in Paul Greengrass' controversial film United 93 which tells the story of the doomed flight which was hijacked and eventually crashed into a field in Shanksville, PA on September 11, 2001. It argues that Greengrass paints religious belief as sincerely held by devotees but ultimately either dangerous or futile and no contemporary construction of God survives that day of terror. The film is also shown to question human trust in the mundane miracles of modern western life. Greengrass does valorise the belief of men and women in each other, their relationships and the human spirit. The film suggests that this is the only faith worth having in the post 9/11 world."
"United 93 & World Trade Center -- As Paul Greengrass and Oliver Stone unveil their controversial films, we ask whether there's any place for 9/11 in the movies." Film Review No. 671 (Summer 2006): 52-61.
"Is it too soon?" Are they an inappropriate cash-in on a national tragedy?? "Two very different film-makers have decided that the time is right to re-open those not-so-old wounds by presenting their own versions of what happened on that day." Interviews with crash victims' families indicate that they buy-in to United 93.
"United 93 - Hollywood's first 9/11 movie. A 9/11 Movie: Is It too Soon?" People Weekly 24 April 2006: 82-84.
A woman whose husband died in the Towers cries seeing the trailer. One theater stopped showing the trailer. The movie producer says their hopes with the trailer was to "provoke discussion." Is it too soon? The climactic quote from a woman whose brother died on the flight: "When I hear people say it's too soon, it can never be soon enough."

See Also

Interview with the director Paul Greengrass. ABC News.

Rich, Frank. "Too Soon? It's Too Late for United 93." New York Times 7 May 2006.

Rollins, Peter C. The Columbia Companion to American History on Film: How the Movies Have Portrayed the American Past. New York: Columbia UP, 2003.

Rommel-Ruiz, W. Bryan. American History Goes to the Movies: Hollywood and the American Experience. New York: Routledge, 2011.

Rosenthal, Alan. Why Docudrama? Fact-Fiction on Film and TV. Carbondale: Southern Illinois UP, 1999.

Scott, Janny. "9/11 Leaves Its Mark on History Classes." New York Times 6 September 2006.

Tracey, Grant. Filmography of American History. Westport: Greenwood Press, 2002.

Video/Audio Resources

9/11 Flight 93 (Part 1)
First of clips showing what looks like the full movie.
flight 93 passenger| 911 heroes|"lets roll" tribute song
A tribute to those aboard Flight United 93.
Trailer for the film United 93
The audience is able to grasp a small sense of the emotions they will feel when they view the movie in entirety through this trailer. The short scenes shown are intense and evoke a sense of wonder and mystery to the viewer.
United 93 Ending
Video clip of the end of the film when the passengers and crew rush the hijackers.
United 93 takeoff
Video clip of United 93 taking off in the film.

Online Resources

Baker, Christopher C. "Greengrass Explores Everyday Courage Under Fire." Harvard Crimson 26 April 2006.
Interview with director Greengrass.
Merchan, George. "Exclusive Interview: Paul Greengrass (United 93)."
Greengrass talks about the reaction he received in creating one of the first films about the events of September 11th and how this affected him personally. He talks about the making of the film and the way in which he went about making it in a way that most audiences would enjoy without controversy.
"United 93 - Paul Greengrass interview." Indielondon.2005.
Greengrass talks about his motives in making the film so close to the actual date of September 11th and how he saw it as a positive way to address the post 9/11 world. Furthermore, he explains why he chose to only focus on one flight and how he kept the stories of the actual passengers on the plane as true to life as he could. Greengrass addresses how he was able to create his film as realistically as possible and how creating such a film as this made him feel personally. The interview addresses many important issues about the film from the director himself.
United 93. Production Notes. Cinema Review.
"Filmmaker PAUL GREENGRASS—the compassionate and socially aware writer/director behind films that study the impact of terrorism in Northern Ireland in Bloody Sunday and Omagh, racial violence in The Murder of Stephen Lawrence and one soldier's abandonment in Resurrected—now focuses his cameras on the day that changed the world forever."