Rebirth Film Review

Rebirth, directed by Jim Whitaker is a not-for-profit feature film that tells the story of 5 people from different backgrounds, surviving the damage and destruction of 9/11. All five people suffered some incredible losses and through this film are able to tell their heartbreaking story to the world. Whitaker follows their progress and the reconstruction of the World Trade Center site through a period of 10 years evoking a sense of Rebirth.

Tanya, a young Filipino/German woman in her 30is was about to get married to the love of her life, first responder named Sergio. Loosing her

“soul mate” while planning her wedding, dealing with the heartbreak, Tanya takes a long journey trying to move on with her life, integrating the memory of Sergio into what eventually becomes a new life in Miami.

Tim a high-ranking NYC Fireman became good friends with his mentor Captain Terry Hatton. Both are called out to the scene of the Trade Center on 9/11. Only Tim returns from the rescue mission watching the Trade Center collapse right in front of his eyes. Dealing with a deep sense of guilt and trying to continue to do what he loves, lead Tim to Washington DC where he becomes an important figure, developing a security system that would improve National security and make him feel more purposeful in his life again.

Brian, a NYC construction worker draws strength from the memories of the towers where he also happened to get married. Offering his help during the rescue he looses his younger brother, a firefighter. Coping with post-traumatic stress several years the Ground Zero pit becomes a second home to Brian, as he eventually returns as a project manager for the reconstruction of the World Trade Center.

Nick, a high-school student with a bright future ahead looses his mother, who is one of the victims trapped on the 104th floor of the World Trade Center. Seeing his father getting married to another woman Nick is unable to cope with the loss and sets off on a path to honor all that his mother meant to him. His journey leads him from Yale to Wall Street and to unexpected reconciliation with his family.

Ling, a hard-working Chinese woman and mother of three, was working at the NY State Tax Dept on the 78th floor of the World Trade Center when the plane hit the bldg. Getting knocked unconscious and suffering 3rd degree burns all over her body Ling’s life leave her contemplating her purpose in life after several unsuccessful surgeries. She learns to accept her altered body and finds hope in a help group, leaving her feeling lucky to be alive.

 The movie feels like a documentary style film. With its one on one interviews, it also has traces of an educational tutorial.

Whitaker succeeds in showing all characters feelings, memories, hopes, disappointments and discoveries. He creates a real sense of intimacy and captures the things that can only emerge over many years.

 Showing the site change through time, weaving the stories of his characters with the rebuilding of the site Whitaker had to create a system with special cameras that shoot one frame of film every five minutes, left out filming and reloading every 20 days, evoking a powerful almost meditative response in the viewer. With its hypnotically austere and rapidly blossoming images and a musical score by New Yorker Philip Glass, he underlines the visuals with stark emotions.

This film is about memories and feeling that must continue to be honored, but it is also about the journey to a better pace that so many have made.







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