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Johan Grimonprez: dial h-i-s-t-o-r-y

September 16, 2009 8:00 pm

1997. betacam sp transferred to dvd, color, sound. 68 min. English

The acclaimed hijacking documentary that eerily foreshadowed 9/11. We meet the romantic skyjackers who fought their revolutions and won airtime on the passenger planes of the 1960s and 1970s. By the 1990s, such characters were apparently no more, replaced on our TV screens by stories of anonymous bombs in suitcases.

Director Johan Grimonprez investigates the politics behind this change, at the same time unwrapping our own complicity in the urge for ultimate disaster. Playing on Don DeLillo’s Riff in his novel Mao ii: “what terrorists gain, novelists lose” and “home is a failed idea”, he blends archival footage of hijackings with surreal and banal themes, including fast food, pet statistics, disco, and his quirky home movies.