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9/11 casts shadow over Cannes with United 93

Sept 11, 2001 attacks in the United States cast a long shadow over the Cannes.

india Updated: May 29, 2006 12:12 IST

The September 11, 2001 attacks in the United States cast a long shadow over the Cannes film festival on Friday with the screening of

United 93

, a powerful movie by British director Paul Greengrass.

Long, respectful applause greeted the screening of the feature, which was shown as part of Cannes's official selection although it is not in competition for the festival's Palme d'Or prize.

It recounts the events of that fateful day through the eyes of US air traffic controllers, military commanders and the passengers, crew and hijackers of the United Airlines plane that went down in a Pennsylvania field before it could reach its target in Washington.

Greengrass, who made the acclaimed Bloody Sunday drama and the Hollywood action film The Bourne Supremacy, uses a documentary style, filling United 93 with ordinary people and dialogue as he patches together a story based on fragments of cockpit recordings, aviation authorities' accounts and supposition.

"I have not a shred of doubt that the picture we have presented is realistic and close and, most importantly, counters the conspiracy theories" that have sprung up around September 11, the director told a media conference.

He added that, beyond the physical horror, the attacks had "symbolic importance because it represents for me that fear that has entered all our lives".

Particularly strong moments in the film are when witnesses in ground control rooms watch as the second plane slices into the World Trade Center, confirming that America is under attack by an enemy using some of the 4,000 commercial aircraft in the sky, and when passengers on the doomed flight send emotional goodbyes to relatives over telephones.

First Published: May 27, 2006 11:38 IST