Photo by Fred AskewI decided to kick off the BNN Richard Sandler Film Fest with Everybody Is Hurting, it is not his most recent (released in 2006), but one that really shows Richard at the top of his game. It is a look at the happenings of 9/11, much of the footage, and commentary comes from the direct aftermath, in fact the 7 days following to be exact. Pretty it is not! Richard Sandler is a proud New Yorker, and he chose to share his thoughts about 9/11 through the medium that he knows best, the camera.

Richard is not big on scripts, in fact I can think of no occasion where he uses them. His technique is to use the video and the commentary of  the man in the street to tell the story. Don’t be fooled, just because there is no script does not mean there is no storyline. Richard is, as us Brits would say, a sly old fox. He never makes anything at face value, you have to dig it out! You watch the movie, and then you think about it, and bit by bit the rest of the story, the unsaid part, starts to reveal itself.

Everybody Is Hurting starts with a collage of clips from TV stations from the morning of 9/11. Yes there are the expected clips from the News stations, that basically pre-empted everything to bring the news as it was happening. Interestingly Richard also decided to include clips from the ‘cable’ world, and that represented a very diverse set of views. HSN for example opted to shut down operations and show a simple note of sympathy. While The History Channel, who one would have thought would have been among the first to want to chronicle history in the making, merely plodded on their way with a rather boring program about Plymouth Rock.

Richard proceeds to ‘listen in’ to what the man in the street had to say. Emotions run high, ‘Bomb the bastards’ are about the kindest words spoken. Moving from group to group, the discussion gets wider and wider. To embrace Islam, or to to denounce Islam, to attack the aggressors on their home turf, or withdraw in the hope of a cease fire. These are all hotly debated.

New York has always been called a ‘melting pot’, and that certainly comes through in this documentary. What these New Yorkers lack in the fact area, they more than make up for in the ‘piss n vinegar’ department. This is a truly interesting movie to watch, but be warned, you will need to watch it at least twice to catch the angles that Richard Sandler throws at you.

I don’t have a link for buying Everybody Is Hurting, but I will get hold of Richard and let you know soon.

Simon Barrett

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