The 20th anniversary of 9/11, remembered and explained in reports and documentaries available on television | TV

The two decades that have passed since the attacks of September 11 and the recent return to Afghanistan of the Taliban give rise to television networks and platforms of streaming to retake all kinds of analysis around the conflict that has defined the 21st century. The filmmaker Spike Lee and the journalist Iñaki Gabilondo join a long list of documentaries and reports that feed the letter’s content offering.

The conflict in Afghanistan, explained in reports and documentaries available on television

Spike Lee’s documentary miniseries that HBO Spain has released in August with total discretion is not the one that the New Yorker had planned to do. New York, epicenter of 9/11 and a pandemic is a portrait of the resilience of the American city at key moments in recent history. The fourth and final episode, which is not added to the platform’s catalog until Sunday, September 12, reported from HBO Spain, included interviews with members of the Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth group, an organization that promotes theories of the conspiracy and that it defends that the buildings were demolished by a controlled demolition and not by terrorist attacks. The director commented and defended the chapter in an interview with The New York Times, which generated enough criticism for him to decide to eliminate those 30 minutes from the final edition. What Lee does relate in the third installment of the series are the memories of how the World Trade Center was built in the 1970s and those of an eclectic group of survivors of the 2001 attacks.

In RTVE Play, the digital collection of content offered by the public entity for free, the viewer can retrieve the reports and documentaries that La 2 has issued in recent months. Some of them offer points of view that are far from the moment of the attacks, such as The business of terrorism, which shows the connection between Western intelligence services and Pakistan’s secret services in the war on Islamist terrorism. The CIA vs. Bin Laden reveals details that occurred during the hunt and capture of what was the most wanted terrorist on the planet until his capture in 2011. To offer a less western look, the web rescues the four chapters of Afghanistan, the wounded land. Directed by Mayte Carrasco and Marcel Mettelsiefen, this production looks at Afghanistan’s 40-year recent history, before the recent return of the Taliban to the area.

Iñaki Gabilondo also analyzes the global context 20 years after the tragedy. On Iñaki and … the new threats after 9/11, an original Movistar + production now available on demand, the journalist reflects on the political, economic and social consequences that day had in today’s world. The special program, divided into two installments, focuses first on the impact that the attack had on American society and on the present situation of a jihadism that has been expanding for decades. The second part analyzes the new threats facing global society, from cybercrime and bioterrorism to the fight for resources such as water or the Arctic. Gabilondo talks with experts such as Fernando García Sánchez, former Chief of Defense Staff; Pilar Cebrián, journalist and author of the book The unfaithful who lives in me (Editorial Ariel); and the French politician and essayist Jacques Attali.

The story behind the iconic image of the attacks, in the documentary '9/11: El hombre del aire'.
The story behind the iconic image of the attacks, in the documentary ‘9/11: El hombre del aire’.RICHARD DREW / Associated Press

The titles that Movistar + has already included in its catalog to commemorate this anniversary have a marked social cut. 9/11: The day the world changed is a BBC production in two episodes that reconstructs that day from the private recordings of anonymous people. It is therefore based on the spontaneous and indirect testimonies of firefighters, tourists and residents of Manhattan. Generation 11-S follows some of the young people who were born shortly after one of their parents was killed in the attack on the Twin Towers. AND 9/11: The man in the air, a BAFTA candidate, the British equivalent of Goya, tells the story behind The Falling Man, the famous photograph by Richard Drew that shows a man leaping from one of the skyscrapers.

The platform also hosts until September 30 9/11: Witnesses to the tragedy documentary series of the National Geographic Spain channel directed by Daniel Bogado that reconstructs that day chronologically, over six chapters and through fifty first-person testimonies. After examining almost a thousand hours of archive material, the production rescues, although it seems incredible at this point, some unpublished images of what happened around the two skyscrapers. And the documentary on the Odyssey channel, Living after 9/11, directed by Arthur Cary on behalf of the BBC, constructs two intertwined narratives: the two-hour period that the attacks lasted, and the history of the 20 years that have elapsed since then. It opens this Friday, September 10 at 10 p.m. and also remains on demand until December 31.

The report of the European cultural channel Arte, financed by the governments of France and Germany that can be seen under these lines, 9/11: 20 years of war against terrorism, summarizes in 12 minutes what the terrorist conflict has meant in these decades.

Much broader is Brian Knappenberger’s look at the series Turning Moments: 9/11 and the War on Terror (Netflix), going back to the origins of Al-Qaeda in the 1980s and analyzing the withdrawal of the United States from Afghanistan, in what has been its most extensive war. While 9/11: this is how the White House lived (Apple TV +), narrated by Jeff Bridges, tells the story from the eyes of the United States Presidency, accessing the people who made the key decisions in the country’s response to the attacks.

Fiction on demand

In the field of fiction, Filmin offers the tape in a video store format (72 hours of access for 4.95 euros) The Mauritanian. Scotsman Kevin Macdonald responsible for The last king of Scotland (2006) and winner of the Oscar for best documentary for One day in september (1999) recounts the true memories of Mohamedou Ould Slahi, who spent more than a decade in Guantánamo prison without charge or trial, as suspected of having recruited members of Al Qaeda who participated in 9/11 in Germany. Tahar Rahim and Jodie Foster lead the cast.

Tahar Rahim, in 'The Mauritanian'.
Tahar Rahim, in ‘The Mauritanian’.

Other titles that are already classics of a cinematographic subgenre are:

  • The last night (2002). One of the first cinematic reactions to the attack, shot precisely by Spike Lee. Where to watch it: On Rakuten TV.
  • The darkest night (2012). The chronicle of the decade of hunting of the terrorist leader of Al Qaeda, Osama Bin Laden, directed by Kathryn Bigelow. Where to watch it: On Amazon Prime Video.
  • United 93 (2006). A real-time account by Paul Greengrass of what happened on United Flight 93, one of the hijacked planes that crashed in Pennsylvania, when passengers thwarted the terrorist plot. Where to watch it: On Netflix and Rakuten TV.
  • The Looming Tower (2018). This miniseries is about the growing threat from Osama Bin Laden and Al Qaeda in the late 1990s. Where to watch it: Amazon Prime Video.

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The 20th anniversary of 9/11, remembered and explained in reports and documentaries available on television | TV