September 11th, 2001
On "World Trade Center" (2006) and "United 93" (2006)
New Books Network 2021
In this episode of Lies Agreed Upon we examine the day everything changed, September 11, 2001. Until now we’ve talked about how the long cultural shadow of 9/11 influenced films about ancient history, the Cold War, and slavery; or institutions like the press, or the CIA. But 9/11 itself was off limits. But in 2006 two films came out from directors with reputations for making movies that critically examine historical events.
Oliver Stone’s World Trade Center follows the story of a handful of New York Port Authority policemen, first responders with no idea what they were in for that sunny Tuesday morning. Paul Greengrass’ United 93 takes to the air, recreating the terrifying and chaotic experiences of passengers who stormed the cockpit of the fourth hijacked plane heading to the US Capitol building. These two directors dared to go where no others had gone before - 9/11. They also could not be more different in how they chose to tackle this heretofore black hole of representation.
Lia Paradis is a professor of history at Slippery Rock University. Brian Crim is a professor of history at the University of Lynchburg. For more on Lies Agreed Upon, go here.