Whilst attending film screenings on a Tuesday afternoon, there has been a number of films that have not only blown me away but stayed with me throughout the entirety of the second year. Such films as Shane Meadows – Dead Man’s Shoes (Dead Mans Shoes, 2004) & Steven Knights – Locke (Locke, 2013).
No film however has struck me so ferociously, so viciously and really left me wondering what it was that affected me so much about it. Did I enjoy it? Was I terrified by it?. All of these are questions that run around my head when thinking back.
The film was 11’09″01 September 11 (11’09″01 September 11, 2002)
The segment was by Alejandro González Iñárritu
Whilst all of the segments of this portmanteau were interesting in their own certain way, including the French installment in regards to sound design, it was the Mexican submission that really moved me. As we were all waiting for it to start I couldn’t help but witness a few people shuffling, talking, the normal movement that happens when sitting in a cinema for over an hour. After, the audience was left stiff, struck by what they had seen. Or was it more what they heard?
In all my time (23 years) of going to the cinema I have never seen an audience captivated by pure sound. Heads were staring forward at the blackness of the screen with only the audio filling the dark void. In this moment my imagination ran wild with sound guiding me. I could only see what the audio would allow me, although the imagery in what I saw was terrible, it didn’t stop me becoming fascinated and in awe with the sound design and direction.
This is where I found my biggest struggle with this film, its sound design is beautiful. As I write these words I am so tempted to press delete but that’s exactly what it was. It was a middle finger to visuals and an exhibition to what sound can and always has had the power to do. It’s a true representation on the horror that happened, I can’t help but feel the darkness of the screen is the witness placing their hands in front of their eyes, in doing this however they have opened themselves up to the visceral attack of the audio.
That being said the visuals do open up another narration, with the help of the audio that is. With the religiousvocals at the start the falling sounds of metal then replaced with images of body’s, I can’t help relate this to the fall of angels or more importantly the fall of humanity and mankind.
This wasn’t why it’s been living in my brain for the past year however, it’s took me a long time to coming to understand why it’s lived with me. Today going back after sometime I think I have finally realized why. It was what I witnessed, not on-screen, but in the cinema. People being controlled by audio. I felt a cocktail of amazement, influence and more important jealousy. I wanted to create such a feeling, I wanted to control the audience, manipulate them. While I say this I am aware to how selfish or more so self centered this may sound but it’s the truth, I have always wanted my work to be seen and I wanted it to move people like it had me and the rest of the room.
I saw this in 11’09″01 September 11, this is why it has stuck with me, this is why it has not left me for over a year now. It’s a goal, a target, an inspiration and something I
must will overcome.
11’09″01 September 11. (2002). [film] United Kingdom, France, Egypt, Japan, Mexico, United States, Iran: Samira Makhmalbaf, Claude Lelouch, Youssef Chahine, Danis Tanović, Idrissa Ouedraogo,Ken Loach , Alejandro González Iñárritu, Amos Gitaï , Mira Nair , Sean Penn , Shōhei Imamura.
Dead Mans Shoes. (2004). [film] United Kingdom: Shane Meadows.
Locke. (2013). [film] USA, United Kingdom: Steven Knight.