Representing9/11 in the Hollywood Cinema Chapter 24 – Term Paper

Evolution of Cinema

Hollywood cinema has evolved over time and twisted the impression of trauma based oppression since the late 1960s.The September 11, 2001, attacks on World Trade Center towers in New York City, due to their proceeding with social immensity, was taken as the pivot for the relationship of state and terrorism representations. In this chapter Eleftheria Thanouli emphasizes on ordinary people who take heroic actions to save the country, which is taken as a deviation from the traditional classical principles. Additionally, as Eleftheria puts it this individividual heroic actions are portrayal of the failure of the government and military agencies, to handle the crisis in a proficient and competent manner. Many would argue that analyzing the United 93 film and World Trade Center film against each other brings about confusion and conflicting views on the historical significance and political orientation the two films. However, in this chapter, Eleftheria Thanouli tries to reverse the prevalent reasoning and unearth some significant similarities between the two films, Greengrass’ and Stone’s approach to 9/11.From her point of view, these two films offer a more advanced approach to historical tragedy. An approach that helps one understands the complexities, the contingencies and the retro-active causalities in any large-scale nationwide trauma.

Critical review

    Eleftheria Thanouli states that the films take a narrative form emphasizing human intervention and communal heroic acts in times of catastrophes. Their illustration of traumatic historical movies offers a narrow but significant sense of the power of the visual images to reserve the commemoration of trauma by “acting out.” She addresses the role of film in addressing the changes in historical consciousness in Hollywood cinema (Neale & Smith, 2013). These two films use characters that resemble the concept of ‘parapraxis, Elsaesser’s recent concept. Parapraxis is an English translation of the word Fehlleistung, meaning an error in speech, memory, or action commonly known as a ‘Freudian slip.’ In this chapter, Elsaesser takes the concept;s literal meaning as the building block for creating around parapraxis a combination of qualities which are predominantly suitable for describing historical traumatic events in the cinema;s approach. Elsaesser particularly expounds on the meaning of Fehlleistung which originates from two words ;Fehl; meaning failure and ;Lei stung; meaning performance. She notes that the compound nature of this word allows us to consider the two historical traumatic events as ;failed performance; and also a ;performance of failure.’ This possibly serves as an answer to the irrepresentability of trauma in the two films. 

Hire a custom writer who has experience.
It's time for you to order amazing papers!

order now

    Parapractic films address the impracticality of representation and the overuse of information or emotion in a manner that resists closure, symmetry, or balance, thus bringing forward poetic components that propose miscommunications unanticipated consequences, causal gaps, reversals, and deferred action. Eleftheria presents parapraxis as a self-divided and a double-sided concept playing around certain key antitheses, like active/passive, past/present, language/embodiment, other/self and intention/contingency, allowing multiple interpretations at different historical junctures. The advancement of parapraxis by Eleftheria serves as a hermeneutic instrument for breaking down the display of trauma on the screen can help us read the arcs of the characters in United 93 and World Trade Center in a way that distinguishes the synchronous nearness of affirmative action and its cancelation. In this light, Eleftheria affirms that the missions taken up in both movies are better comprehended as performances of failure’ under incommensurable conditions that test any idea of direct sequence and cause and-impact rationale.


    Eleftheria view in this chapter is that the story complex quality of both World Trade Center and United 93 is amazing for standard Hollywood productions, and it ought not to be downplayed because of the movie producers’ reputations or political feelings. Both Stone and Greengrass worked to a great degree intimately with the families involved people in this national catastrophe, and they both expressly strived to remain consistent with the facts and the testimonies they got (Neale ; Smith, 2013). The plenty of statements, images, recordings and memories accessible from this traumatic occasion broadcast live over the world combined with the fame of complex narrating in the course of the most recent few decades could represent the story choices evidenced in these two 9/11 movies. One of the mainstays of the classical Hollywood film was the character-focused causality based on the male hero as a goal-oriented identity who embraces and frequently fulfills a mission. According to Eleftheria the achievement of the mission in the two films was transcendently subject to the hero’s personal initiative and resolve with technology or natural and historical forces, being subsidiary to the course of action. All that energy and every one mobilized in the push to grab hold of the circumstance transform into an all-around coordinated performance of failure that would require a repeated come back to that day keeping in mind the end goal to comprehend what turned out badly.

Criticism of Episodic Plot Structure

    Eleftheria criticism is mainly based on the episodic plot in the films. The episodic structure in the United 93 is so obvious with relentless crosscutting, which quickly and abruptly takes one from one scene to another. Different to what most plot synopses may recommend, United 93 is not simply about the eponymous flight that crashed in Pennsylvania. That story sums just to one area of the plot, while the rest delineates the national disaster from the perspective of different airport traffic control centers, incorporating those in Boston, Herndon, and Newark. The opening sets a deceptive focus on the Muslim characters preparing to aboard the plane. However, that concentration soon blurs away from the background as the narrative outlines the reaction of the airport traffic regulation and the national air defense frameworks to a progression of affirmed and suspected hijack reports followed by a progression of strikes on the Twin Towers and the Pentagon (Bron, 2015). According to Eleftheria the incoherent editing style works in the film with the fragmented narrative trajectory that plans to include a wide range of characters and activities and emulate the feeling of confusion that ruled that day on all levels, from the individual to the operational and the political. There does not appear to be any consistency in anyone’s activities ; not even the kidnappers to some degree ; or any planned or well-organized response to the disaster. The sequence of the occasions on the morning of September 11 found in Greengrass’ film is intentionally fragmented. The heartbreaking fate of the travelers on United 93 only acts as a provisional story locus around which an abundance of exercises, like the other planes, the assaults, the airport controls, and the military summons, might be inaccurately organized. 

    Similarly, In the World Trade Center film, the rescue of the two caught officers is only one scene, but a noteworthy one, among a progression of other vital scenes that occurred that day and are associated in a piecemeal or even arbitrary way. Eleftheria view on this film is that it is plotted in an episodic manner with numerous characters and different potential narrative routes, loosing altogether the classical objective of Hollywood way. The film focusses on the plight of the two cops works as a compass in the more prominent disaster hitting the individuals and the city of New York and not the other way. Different from other established classical historical events like the  World War II  instead of being a mere backdrop for adventure, the rescue of the two heroes is a key account center point for a bigger chain of episodes that occurred on September 11 in New York. A progression of different characters is presented in a roundabout mold, for the most part through the names on their lockers, and we start to impression snapshots of the ordinary routine of Port Authority Police. In this chapter Eleftheria  critisiaes the World Trade Center based on the fact that it concentrates on characters that can’t act. The account builds up the preface of a “mission” by sending the cops nearby just to frustrate it minutes after the fact by catching them in the most crippling circumstance (Sorkin ; Zukin).;


; ; In this chapter, Eleftheria has tried to demonstrate the two films are rich with information regarding the 9/11 attacks that originated from Greengrass; and Stone;s asserted intention to get the facts right by using as many testimonies as possible. Eleftheria indicates several significant departures from the known classical Hollywood tradition like the multiple and fragmented plotlines, loosening of the goal-oriented progression of the story and the modified view on the heroic action in this extremely unanticipated and paralyzing event. Both films are full of gaps, reversed causalities, deferred actions and random incidences that majorly do not aim either to comforting the audience nor offering an easy ;practical solution.



Bron, A. J., Yokoi, N., ; Georgiev, G. (2015). A Fresh Look at Tear Film Structure and Dynamics. Acta Ophthalmologica.

Neale, S., ; Smith, M. (Eds.). (2013). Contemporary Hollywood Cinema. Routledge.

Sorkin, M., ; Zukin, S. (Eds.). (2013). After the World Trade Center: Rethinking New York City. Routledge.