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Answering the Call: Ground Zero's Volunteers
Answering the Call Ground Zero's Volunteers
Actor: Kathleen Turner
Director: Lou Angeli
Genres: Documentary
NR     2006     1hr 5min


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Movie Details

Actor: Kathleen Turner
Director: Lou Angeli
Genres: Documentary
Sub-Genres: Documentary
Studio: Direct Source Label
Format: DVD - Color,Full Screen
DVD Release Date: 08/08/2006
Original Release Date: 01/01/2006
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/2006
Release Year: 2006
Run Time: 1hr 5min
Screens: Color,Full Screen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 0
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

An Emotional Tribute
L. Angeli | Wilmington, DE USA | 10/22/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"''Answering the Call: Ground Zero's Volunteers'' is an emotional tribute to the thousands of regular citizens and emergency personnel who, on Sept. 11, 2001, responded to the worst disaster any of them had ever seen. For 16 days after the collapse of the twin towers, the filmmaker and volunteer firefighter Lou Angeli -- one of the few sanctioned videographers on the scene -- documented their efforts. The resulting film is a record of indefatigably focused activity that began with the simple goal of rescue but evolved into a therapeutic tool for resolution and acceptance.

Narrated by a huskily respectful Kathleen Turner, the film is equally divided between talking heads and familiar, surreal images of devastation, most shot at close range. Traversing the acres of twisted steel alongside firefighters, lawyers, playwrights and musicians, Mr. Angeli trains his camera on the less visible heroes of the hour: the volunteers who evacuated an estimated half-million people from piers on the Hudson River, and the dozens of rescue dogs whose uncanny ability to scent buried human beings is both moving and awe-inspiring. (''We're like colored smoke to them,'' a handler says.)

Many of those who worked on what came to be known as the Pile remain stunned by the outpouring of donations and support. From free massages to Gap sweatshirts to face masks from 3M, businesses and private individuals gave whatever was needed. Some of these Samaritans, like Susan Vitti, aka ''the Entenmann's lady,'' still speak of those days with a profound and not inappropriate nostalgia, aware that the opportunity to experience human nature at its most selfless is a rare and unforgettable privilege.

''Answering the Call'' is filled with small, satisfying details, like the description of the ash cloud that followed the attacks as ''a warm blizzard,'' and the recollection of one volunteer that many women running from the towers were without shoes -- a fact that makes perfect sense, given the nonutilitarian construction of most feminine footwear. Equally unsurprising is the retreat into Hollywood metaphor by people whose only prior experience of catastrophe at this level has been in the multiplex. ''I felt like I was in the color part of 'The Wizard of Oz,''' says one man, and we know exactly what he means.

As firefighters and others rally once again, to help the victims of Hurricane Katrina, ''Answering the Call'' reminds us that when tragedy strikes, inaction may be the most painful response of all. JEANNETTE CATSOULIS