It was believed that September 11th would make certain kinds of
films obsolete, such as action thrillers crackling with explosions
or high-casualty blockbusters where the hero escapes unscathed.
While the production of these films did ebb, the full impact of the
attacks on Hollywood's creative output is still taking shape. Did
9/11 force filmmakers and screenwriters to find new methods of
storytelling? What kinds of movies have been made in response to
9/11, and are they factual? Is it even possible to practice poetic
license with such a devastating, broadly felt tragedy?
Stephen Prince is the first scholar to trace the effect of 9/11
on the making of American film. From documentaries like
Fahrenheit 9/11 (2004) to zombie flicks, and from
fictional narratives such as The Kingdom (2007) to Mike
Nichols's Charlie Wilson's War (2007), Prince evaluates
the extent to which filmmakers have exploited, explained,
understood, or interpreted the attacks and the Iraq War that
followed, including incidents at Abu Ghraib. He begins with
pre-9/11 depictions of terrorism, such as Alfred Hitchcock's
Sabotage (1936), and follows with studio and independent
films that directly respond to 9/11. He considers documentary
portraits and conspiracy films, as well as serial television shows
(most notably Fox's 24) and made-for-TV movies that
re-present the attacks in a broader, more intimate way. Ultimately
Prince finds that in these triumphs and failures an exciting new
era of American filmmaking has taken shape.
Subjects: Film Studies, Sociology, History, Political Science
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