I hadn’t heard of REBIRTH until it showed up on my doorstep. As far as documentaries go, I’m honestly pretty neglectful of the ones already in my catalogue. I really enjoy them once I get into them, but it takes me a while to have a day where I feel like watching a documentary. As someone who didn’t have any emotional stakes in 9/11 (I fortunately didn’t have any friends or loved ones in NY at the time or on a plane or anything), most of what I hear and see is only taken in as tragic news.
Watching REBIRTH was like being close friends with someone who lost a loved one in 9/11. As an individual who didn’t experience a friend or family member mourning during the time, I could start to understand what those people were going through from this film. REBIRTH follows the lives of five people who were affected by the attack over the course of almost ten years. The interviewees are diverse and we hear from Ling, a Chinese immigrant who was working high in one of the towers when the attack happened and was left badly burned. There’s Nick who, at 15-year old, loses his mother; Tim, a NYC firefighter who loses his best friend; Brian, a construction worker who loses his brother; and Tanya, who loses the love of her life.
We see people in the film when the tragedy first happens and we see how they evolve over time with this emotional burden. As you can imagine, it’s a very tearful experience as each person talks about what they went through and shares what they were going through. Most find ways to cope with what has happened, while others, like Tanya have trouble moving on and while, in the end she is able to find love again, she never really lets go.
Complete feature length time-lapse edit: James Whitaker and Thomas Lappin over the course of time it took to create the project, shot hundreds of hours worth of time-lapse footage. This feature is a ninety-minute time-lapse video compiling important events that happen where the Twin Towers previously stood. For parts of the feature, there’s absolutely no sound. I guess they opted to not add in music to this portion of the DVD, but occasionally, there’s sound from the various events that take place.
I guess in the end, Whitaker was trying to make the film about the survivors, thus the title REBIRTH. I just felt that in the end, the effect of the film would’ve been more powerful if they weren’t so individually focused on just the five people for the entire thing.