Sunday, September 10. 2006
The movie "United 93" shows how American heroes take on the hijackers -- but only after a German passenger has tried to persuade them not to. The movie is described as "meticulously researched" and "fact-based", but there is not any indication that Christian Adams, deputy directory of the German Wine Institute and a Fulbright Alumnus, acted in the cowardly appeasing way he is portrayed in the movie.
Anthony Kaufman writes in his review in AlterNet: "a German blond businessman who turns out as a stereotypically weak-kneed Euro-pacifist (an obvious non-American who is eventually neutralized)."
The Film Fatale blog writes in "United 93's Euro-Pacifist Passenger":
To set up the non-American passenger as a phony obstacle to their heroism-is insulting. Even the four hijackers got a more humane portrayal.John Harris writes for the Guardian's website: "The film United 93 finds old Europe literally standing in the way of US derring-do. The only trouble is, it didn't happen that way."
Cosmo Landesman writes in The Times:
There is the awkward question of the much-celebrated bravery of the passengers. Were all of them heroic, or just the half-dozen we see charging the terrorists? It’s interesting that the most vocal passenger to advocate a policy of do-nothing is not an American but a German. Greengrass and his actors meticulously researched and created all the scenarios, but how did they establish that he was the leading advocate of appeasement? Surely one of the passengers didn’t phone home to point out there was a cowardly German on board who wanted to give in? The film doesn't want to deal with the possibility that there were Americans who opted to stay silent and seated. Greengrass wants it both ways: he wants to pose both as the objective documentarist who just presents the facts as they unfolded, and as the dramatist who presents an upbeat portrait of American bravery that makes everybody look good.
PORTRAYING FICTION AS FACTS:
Indeed, the director's statement on the movie's official website starts with:
United 93 is a film about 9/11. It tells the story of the day through a meticulous re-enactment of events surrounding United 93, the last of four hijacked aircraft, in the belief that by examining this single event something much larger can be found - the shape of our world today.This shape of our world apparently includes cowardly Germans. The statement claims:
Made with the full support of the families of those on board, United 93 will track in real time the dramatic story of what happened inside the aircraft as well as on the ground.However, the family of Christian Adams was not interviewed. The actor who played Christian Adams told the BBC that his widow did not want to co-operate with film-makers because it was too painful. The Sonntagsblatt Bayern confirms this and adds that according to the audiofiles one passenger said that he did not want to die, but in the movie those words were used in German and attributed to Christian Adams
Nicht alle Familien haben dabei mitgemacht. Die Familie des deutschen Todesopfers Christian Adams wollte dem Film zwar keine Steine in den Weg legen, hat sich darüber hinaus aber bewusst nicht beteiligt. Der damals 37-jährige Wein- und Marketing-Fachmann Adams aus Biebelsheim war auf dem Weg nach Kalifornien, um dort auf einer Messe deutsche Weine zu präsentieren.The BBC writes that the actor defends his portrayal of Christian Adams by saying that he read that Christian "never made rash decisions and everything he did was always well-considered." However, as the Post Gazette wrote in 2001:
"One of the most impressive things about Christian was his willingness to dive in and do whatever needed to be done," said Carol Sullivan, director of the German Wine Information Bureau in New York. "No job was ever beneath him."Christian Adams was also one of two Fulbrighters killed on September 11, 2001. David Rice died in the World Trade Center and had been an American Fulbright graduate student in Zimbabwe, remarked Marianne Craven on behalf of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the Department of State.
The Renaissance Monkey is angry:
The family and friends of Christian Adams, who have all already suffered more than anyone should ever have to, now face the besmirching of their lost loved one's memory and quite possibly the public accusation of cowardice from the ignorant who will believe that "United 93" is in some way an accurate depiction of what occurred. I was feeling uncomfortable with these September 11th film projects, but now, certainly in the case of Mr Greengrass' fantasy, I feel nothing but utter revulsion.
WHAT'S THE BIG DEAL?
"United 93" is not a normal movie that just happens to make a German look bad. It is
a) about a real event and
b) about real people who were killed.
c) described as fact-based, well-researched docudrama that honors the victims and inspires Americans.
Despite all this, America's leading film critics praised "United 93." The movie has an average rating of 8.1 out of 10 ten points, which makes it the "cream of the crop", according to the movie rating service Rotten Tomatoes.
It seems most (or all?) of the movie reviews published in U.S. papers were not at all concerned about the portrayal of Christian Adams. On the contrary: The leading film critic Roger Ebert ignores the German victim and calls it "a masterful and heartbreaking film, and it does honor to the memory of the victims."
Quotes from a random sample of other reviews:
• The Philadelphia Weekly opines:
You're not going to find a movie from a major studio with more integrity than United 93. Made with support of the victims' families, and hewing as close as possible to facts confirmed by the 9/11 commission report, the film isn't a cash-in. There's not an exploitative frame in the picture. It's also not an editorial, and it's most certainly not a Hollywood thriller. (…) At no point during United 93 does it feel like you're watching a movie. It feels like you're there.• The NY Times reviewer Manohla Dargis consider the movie:
A persuasively narrated, scrupulously tasteful re-creation of the downing of the fourth and final plane hijacked by Islamist terrorists on Sept. 11. (…) Drawing on different sources, including the report and family members, Mr. Greengrass follows the same trajectory as the report, with most of the screen time devoted to the period between takeoff and the excruciating moments before the plane crashed. The film carries the standard caution that it is "a creative work based on fact," yet Mr. Greengrass's use of nonfiction tropes, like the jagged camerawork and the rushed, overlapping shards of naturalistic dialogue, invests his storytelling with a visceral, combat-zone verisimilitude. And yet at the same time, beat for beat, the whole thing plays out very much according to the Hollywood playbook. (…) Mr. Greengrass has worked hard to honor the victims, as has the studio releasing the film.• The Seattle Post Intelligencer's movie critic William Arnold describes the movie under the headline "Grippingly realistic 'United 93' takes you to the fateful skies of 9/11 -- almost":
Universal's "United 93," is a respectful, accomplished, non-exploitative piece of historical filmmaking and -- for audiences -- a gripping white-knuckle ride all the way. (…) "United 93" is not a film with a political agenda --it strains to be a sober, somber, straightforward re-creation of the event --…"
Many conservative Americans were outraged by alleged inaccuracies and by the unfair portrayal of the Bush administration in Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11. and criticized that many Germans liked the movie so much.
Right now many liberal Americans are outraged by the ABC docudrama The Path to 9/11 and protest against alleged inaccuracies in the portion of the film concerned with the Clinton administration in the 1990s.
However apparently hardly anybody in the American mainstream media and only very few bloggers are troubled by the inaccuracies or the portrayal of Christian Adams in United 93. Germans don't make a fuss either. There were not any protests against the movie in Germany and we do not need any in my humble opinion. The British media seems to be more critical of the movie than the German media. While an increasing number of American bloggers and their readers complain about Anti-Americanism in Germany, Germans don't make an issue of "Anti-Germanism". In fact, there is not even such a term as "Anti-Germanism."
"United 93" has been shown in German cinemas for weeks. The DVD will be released in Germany in December, but can be imported from the UK in October. In the United States the DVD is already available:
John Harris criticizes on the Guardian's website the movie and the attempts of the director to defend the portrayal of Christian Adams in a BBC interview:
A European-accented passenger pointedly makes the case for negotiation - and then, come the storming of the flight deck, attempts to place himself in the way. Given the patriotic legend of flight 93 ("Let's roll," said one passenger, unwittingly launching a tub-thumping Neil Young record, several thousand T-shirts and a catchphrase that crystallised a very American derring-do), this little subplot packs a very hard punch: when the film plays in the US, there will surely be all kinds of cries about old European surrender monkeys, the US's contrasting backbone etc. So, from where did this episode come? As it turns out, nowhere. We know there was a German passenger - one Christian Adams, aged 37 - on board, but that's it. His role in the movie is the product of something several light years away from artistic license, as is proved by the exchange between Greengrass and Kirsty Wark on Thursday's Newsnight:Actually, he was 13 rather than eight years old in 1977, but still that's not a good excuse.
MORE CRITICISM FROM BLOGGERS:
• Anglofritz opines: "In the film, the German is a cowardly snake."
• Island Monkey writes in the post "United 93 German Stereotype Included":
Unfortunately for me there are also key inaccuracies, and one of them is absolutely unforgiveable involving a rather shallow portrayal of a German passenger, and, ultimately, this ensured it was a disappointing film.
In fact, I could not believe what I was watching. During the scenes when the passengers are planning to revolt against the terrorists a heavily stereotypical German man repeatedly tries to prevent them and especially at the key moment when they rush the terrorists. The film is absolutely gripping at this point. But this German man/actor stands up to warn the terrorists of the attack by the passengers. What? It destroyed the film for me for a number of reasons.
For one - it is completely inaccurate and even the director has admitted this. It's farcical really. But the problem is also that back in the real world there was a sole German man on board that plane.
• Andrew Lang from Ohio, who blogs at Blue in a Red State, has sent this email a few weeks ago:
I'm probably going to write a blog before the deadline on the shameful portrayal of a German citizen, Christian Adams, in the film "United 93". He was one of the passengers killed on the flight. The director decided to assign him the role of the one coward among the passengers: first he argues to appease the hijackers by doing nothing, then he panics and attempts to warn the hijackers that the passengers are planning to storm the cabin and seize control of the plane. The actor (also a German, so the intent here is unmistakable) appears at first agitated and disagreeable, then completely out of control.• Anthony Kaufman writes in his blog about the "Surrender Monkey":
In my review of "United 93" awhile back, I pointed out the strange presence of "a German blond businessman who turns out as a stereotypically weak-kneed Euro-pacifist (an obvious non-American who is eventually neutralized)." The character stands in a stark contrast to the "American heroes" who fight back -- and his stereotypical attitude is finally getting noticed in Europe. (...) It's further evidence of how much the movie panders to American cowboy politics -- and reaffirms both American and E.U. stereotypes.
Welcome Reddit readers. Please, have a look around the site for other posts concerning transatlantic relations. Here are our must reads.
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We watched Flight 93 last night. Sober, impressive stuff. By coincidence I've just been alerted to Atlantic Review's post about the other, much more widely publicised hijacking film, Paul Greengrass's United 93 (which I still haven't seen, alas.) Ahead of
Weblog: Clive Davis
Tracked: Sep 10, 14:34
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zebul666 - #1 - 2006-09-10 10:10 -
since the War on Irak, look at the films made in the U.S. The french men are now always the bad and perfidious guys and a traitor. even in cartoons like 'the indescructible' there is a bad guy which is french.
DudeAsInCool - #2 - 2006-09-10 10:49 -
Any suggestion that the filmmakers set out ot defame anyone European, or in particular as specific German man, is ridiculous. They tried to make as accurate a presentation as they could. See the movie before making outlandish claims - I saw it and walked out of the theater with sympathy for all the passengers
Kingchiron - #2.1 - 2006-09-10 22:13 -
You say "They tried to make as accurate a presentation as they could." Ok, so then where did the portrayal of this real man as a coward come from? If there's no evidence that he acted in this way then your statement isn't accurate.
Anonymous - #3 - 2006-09-10 11:47 -
To explain the lack of criticism in Germany: Maybe nobody cared to watch a movie without hollywood stars, or the German version was changed or the German passenger was not recognized as German because the movie was synchonized into German.
Coward german - #3.1 - 2006-09-15 09:56 -
Hello everybody, anonymous is true. I read on a german homepage, that the german synchronisation lacks of authentic translation. Nobody can recognize the german as "coward". So, if somethings is really "coward", then it is to slander a victim and being not honest enough to face the reaction in the country of the victim. Maybe, the german wasn't coward - maybe he just was "political correct" -just as polictic correct as the producer was, knowing that he had to deceive the german audience in order to get their money. Disgusting. In addition, I want to express my feelings of shame on how these movie makers act with the widow of a 9/11 victim - maybe this is, because they "know", that the german victim surely cannot be as heroic as the other victims of 9/11. But, that's all show business and it's all about the money. Who cares about feelings of victims. You just have to care about the victims as long as it makes people want to see the movie. Shameful. Another german coward
Fuchur - #4 - 2006-09-10 12:06 -
JW-Atlantic Review - #5.1.1 - 2006-09-12 01:37 -
Oh Possum, when will you ever learn. Calling 9/11 "just a moment" for Europeans is wrong and insulting on so many levels. Your comments make it worse. You make so many factual mistakes in your comments and you spread lies. No time to correct them all. Just one thing: Read this about Europeans in Southern Afghanistan for instance: [url]http://atlanticreview.org/archives/373-NATOs-Increasing-Involvement-in-Afghanistan.html[/url]
Possum - #22.214.171.124 - 2006-09-15 02:48 -
Read this about NATO, especially Germany, in Afghanistan for instance: In 2004: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A28163-2004Jul4.html Now: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,3-2353444,00.html and http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,3-2355551,00.html#cid=OTC-RSS&attr=World and http://www.captainsquartersblog.com/mt/archives/008048.php The Taliban is resurgent precisely because we are handing the baton to Europe. "Oh, goody" they say, suddenly becoming bold. The Brits and Canadians in the south need help. They are dying because there isn't a strong enough NATO force there. And you MUST fight the drug trade. No excuses.
JW-Atlantic Review - #126.96.36.199.1 - 2006-09-15 14:38 -
Thank you for the links. Very much appreciated. I have responded with a new post: [url=http://atlanticreview.org/archives/401-NATOs-Difficulties-to-Get-More-Troops-for-Afghanistan.html]NATO's Difficulties to Get More Troops for Afghanistan[/url]
JW-Atlantic Review - #5.2.1 - 2006-09-12 01:44 -
a) You are not well-informed. b) "But NATO is dead." So why do you complain about a lack of contributions? What do you expect from the dead?
Don - #188.8.131.52 - 2006-09-12 02:16 -
Joerg, I think the point being made is that the lack of contribution and foot-dragging on the grudging efforts which have been made have 'killed' NATO. More accurately I think it might be asserted that NATO has been stunted by the events since 1999 - and may take a long time to recover. If indeed it ever does. The next big European crisi wuill be a major test, because I think whomever is US President is going to have a huge problem gathering enough support to do anything in Europe after the performance of the last few years. You might get 3000 troops - for garrison duty. That strikes me as propotional somehow....
Olaf Petersen - #6 - 2006-09-10 15:33 -
Tasteless, a scandal. Even if the German victim was afraid to die, even if he wasn't a hero: [b]DE MORTIBUS NIHIL NISI BENE[/b] Americans seem to enjoy making foreign victims of 9/11 the target of blatant disrespect and resentment. They...- I better stop now.
Don - #6.1 - 2006-09-10 17:27 -
"Americans seem to enjoy making foreign victims of 9/11 the target of blatant disrespect and resentment. They...- I better stop now." Some Europeans seem to enjoy making American victims of 9/11 the target of blatant disrespect and resentment. In some cases mere days after the event. In wholesale lots, not retail. There, I had best stop now.
VinceTN - #7 - 2006-09-10 16:34 -
Looking at the politics of the web sites you linked to shows people who likely resent any movie showing brave Americans defeating pure evil. Its not nuanced enough and shows fighting as a viable alternative to appeasement. We don't want those stupid Americans to get confused and think they can actually fight this thing, do we? I also felt odd watching what they put in the German's mouth. Its not an unreasonable assumption to think somebody likely spoke like that but since they didn't want to risk framing some American on the plane they took the easy route and slandered a European. It wasn't fair but it was two lines out of the movie and until I read this post I has forgotten his role completely. Since so many squeeled with glee over Farenheight 911 in its hateful depiction of America's objectives in Iraq, surely these same people will survive the depiction of one individual in a bad light. I doubt anyone left this movie damning the Germans. I think you know pretty well who the anger was directed at. With the politics of those web sites you linked to and no doubt a few of the posters on this site, I would believe that is their real outrage. At least they can hide under indignation about a slandered German instead of admitting they want no film that condemns America's enemies and shows heroic Americans.
Thomas - #7.1 - 2006-09-11 08:46 -
This is not abstract and general, but concrete. It's not about nations, but about an individual. A victim of 9/11. So far Ann Coulter and her fans were the only ones who don't mind insulting individual 9/11 victims and their family for silly political statements.
jh99 - #8 - 2006-09-10 18:02 -
i can easily see why noone in germany was enraged, most movies in german are dubbed. so unless christian adams is made out to a german by something other then speaking german in an english film (which he doesnt in the dubbed version) one wouldnt even notice...
eccentric recluse - #9 - 2006-09-10 20:30 -
I have not seen this particular film, so I will limit my comments to the 'making of a bad guy'. We don't know the conscious or unconscious reasons that the filmakers had for picking a European for the role of the appeaser, (if the role was that--he may have been intended to be a thoughtful alternative to the American plan), but we should remeber that this is not journalism, it's purpose is not to document and inform, it's purpose, first and foremost, is to make money for the producers. It is not surprising that liberties might have been taken, I am apalled that a single passenger was singled out, by name, and placed in what may very well be a contrived part, (aiding the development of the drama); that the person happened to fall into an easily stereotyped category makes it all the worse. I agree that a 'composite' passenger would have been a better choice.
Jamie Arpin-Ricci - #10 - 2006-09-10 20:37 -
Excellent and thorough piece. Some may argue that Europeans have characterized American victims of 9/11 with disrespect. This is true. However, people the world over have done this, including Americans themselves. Besides, even if it were true of only Europeans, it is a shallow argument to defend the insult against Christian Adams (& family) specifically, and Germans (& Europeans) in general. Some might wonder at the big deal being made by this, arguing in was represented in two lines and quickly forgotten. This would be true, of course, if your nationality and fellow citizens are being praised as faultless heroes. Why would you pay attention to one cowardly German? Then again, if you were NOT American- more specifically German or European- this would stand out a GREAT deal more. The events of 9/11 are too critical to current world affair- political, religious, emotional, etc.- for them to be casually misrepresented in this way. This has been overlooked far too much, so I am glad you wrote this piece. Well done. Peace, Jamie
Anonymous - #10.1 - 2006-09-10 20:49 -
@ Jamie. I agree with what you are saying, excpet for this: "Some may argue that Europeans have characterized American victims of 9/11 with disrespect. This is true." Could you give us an example of any European characterizing an American victim of 9/11 with disrespect in a movie (watched by millions) or a book or a major speech or whatever.
Peejz - #11 - 2006-09-10 20:45 -
I did not go to the theater to see Flight 93. I watched a made for TV version of Flight 93 that came out before the motion picture. To be honest with you, I had not heard of Christian Adams prior to you bringing him up. Although there is no excuse for me not knowing that he was one of the passengers, I can see where your anger is coming from. Everyone on those planes made split second decisions. With all the hoopla surounding 'The Path To 9/11" a big part of the story is being missed. We Americans accepted those movies as 'the truth'. No one lived to tell of how Christian Adams acted or didn't act on that plane. The scenes on the plane are a best guess or made up. I would love to know why he was made to be the scapegoat! As for The Path To 9/11, Oh my what a mess. I watched the scenes that the Democrats didn't want shown. Clinton's administration did drop the ball, but it is not their fault that 9/11 occured. Nor is it George Bush' fault. Our government has made mistakes and we need to make sure that we have the information correct so that we prevent another disaster from occuring. One part of the hoopla that isn't being told is that the 9/11 Commission whitewashed basic facts so as to not embarass anyone...well, it's time to grow up and realize that peoples feelings are going to get hurt, but they will survive. We need to learn from out mistakes. Pretending they didn't happen is not a good plan.
JW-Atlantic Review - #12 - 2006-09-10 21:10 -
[b]Welcome new readers! We appreciate that you stop by and encourage you to comment here and check out the rest of our blog. [/b] The length of my post might give the impression that I want to make a HUGE issue out of it. I don't. I just don't like defaming 9/11 victims and stereotyping. Have a look at our posts on Anti-Americanism: [b][url]http://atlanticreview.org/plugin/tag/Anti-Americanism[/url] [/b] And I don't like folks who claim to have made a movie "based on fact" and "meticulously research". And I don't like journalists and film critics, who praise the movie for honoring all victims and re-enactment of the actual events etc etc. [b][url=http://atlanticreview.org/]Surf around our website[/url] and discover our many posts on transatlantic relations.[/b]
Maxim Gorky - #13 - 2006-09-10 21:20 -
Those cowardly Germans will never know what kind of bravery it takes to launch an invasion of a huge country like Iraq.
pithie - #13.1 - 2007-06-03 13:46 -
A huge country like Iraq? Sorry to inform you my simple minded friend but Iraq is tiny compared to the US with a very small army, almost no airforce and absolutly no navy. Yes it was quite an achievment for america to take over it. You should be very proud of yourselves as they will probably be singing songs about it for many years to come. In fact heres a good title for a song. "The Bullies". what do you think?
Zyme - #14 - 2006-09-11 01:14 -
Yes, those cowardly Germans know only what kind of bravery it takes to start a war with half of the world - repeatedly. Which country has shown more bravery in the last century?
Don - #15 - 2006-09-11 01:22 -
Two sentences from a movie are being inflated into a major issue - this by many of the same people who lionize Mikey Moore, a chap with a scrupulous regard for the truth and a revulsion for hype and dishonesty of all kinds. Well, perhaps not. Having seen the US and Americans on the other end of a probing Gallic thumb more than once - my emotions poked at by European 'intellectuals exhibiting all the judgement and moral restraint of pre-adolescents at the zoo baiting the monkeys. Well it provides a certain perspective. May I advise that concerned Europeans clean their own cage before concerning themselves with the state of our cage?
Fuchur - #15.1 - 2006-09-11 21:41 -
Don - #15.1.1 - 2006-09-12 00:59 -
I don't blame Europeans for making Michael Moore; I blame them for worshiping him. Once upon a time I was a fan of his; "Roger & Me" was an excellent, funny, film asj=king a bloated plutocrat with a gigantic ego why he laid off the workers of Flint. Now it's Moore who is the bloated plutocrat with a gigantic ego and people are making parody films about him. Who gave him the bloated ego? Europeans who will worship any american who tells them exactly what they wish to hear. That the US is no good and Europe is perfect.
Possum - #16 - 2006-09-11 12:36 -
Is there supposed to be some sort of moral equivalence I'm missing here ;-)
Anonymous - #16.1 - 2006-09-11 15:02 -
What you insinuate is: Abusing Americans is bad. Abusing Germans is okay, because of Schroeder.
Don - #16.1.1 - 2006-09-12 02:21 -
Nah. Abusing Americans is routine, and many Europeans regard it as only their just due. Abuse coming back on Europeans? Now that's rank injustice! LOL. I can't believe Joerg is getting his knickers all in a twist over two lines - in a bloody movie! Two lines. Think what the reaction had been if it had been a paragraph! ;)
JW-Atlantic Review - #184.108.40.206 - 2006-09-12 02:32 -
It was more than that. You should see it. Why do you try to make it smaller? Are you too embarrased to just accept the criticism?
Don - #220.127.116.11.1 - 2006-09-12 12:07 -
Joerg, Michael Moore is an American as you and Fuchur rightly point out. But the French gave their most prestigious film award (the Palm D'Or at Cannes) to Farenheight 9/11, adding a great deal to making the overhyped monster which is Michael Moore. Hollywood added to it by giving him the Academy Award and a soap box to spout his hate from - but Hollywood listens to Europeans because Europe is a larger market than the US. It was all about money and pandering to what many (most?) Europeans wanted to hear. Two lines in a singel movie seem rather small compared to that. Even if the victim was a Fullbrighter!
Fuchur - #18.104.22.168.1.1 - 2006-09-12 14:28 -
Don - #22.214.171.124.1.1.1 - 2006-09-12 21:50 -
So the americans are to blame for the contempt which many europeans direct at them? Interesting POV, Fuchur. To say the least....
Zombie12toes - #126.96.36.199.1.2 - 2006-09-12 17:32 -
Anonymous - #188.8.131.52.1.2.1 - 2006-09-12 17:54 -
flocon - #184.108.40.206.1.2.2 - 2006-09-13 22:19 -
Salut zombie12toes! Glad that you gave the precision re. the composition of the Cannes festival Jury, I don't have to do it myself... As a matter of fact, when questionned about his choice, Poolvoerde said he didn't vote for Farenheit 9/11...
Zyme - #17 - 2006-09-11 13:29 -
Yet it is comforting to see that this issue got attention in the british media - in a positive way towards germany. Maybe a real kind of european identity is actually beginning to exist.
ADMIN - #19 - 2006-09-12 01:52 -
Please note that by default the comments in this blog are threaded rather than linear, i.e. some of the latest comments and responses to comments are not at the bottom, but in the middle of the thread. At the top of the comments section you have the option to change the view from threaded to linear, which enables you to see the latest comments at the end of the thread.
David - #20 - 2006-09-12 13:51 -
@Don & Possum, As an American, I am disappointed that all you have to contribute here is contempt for Europe (and Germany, in particular). Like a broken record your message is always "You are cowards, we are right and brave." Why do you bother to join a forum that is dedicated to transtlantic dialogue and understanding?
Don - #20.1 - 2006-09-12 16:44 -
Care to elucidate, David? I personally don't see the problem so much as American contempt for Europeans as the reverse - which has lately begun to be returned by some americans. As is perfectly natural. Cut out the contempt coming from Europeans and I think the yanks will pipe down in time. But then - perhaps you have a few contempt issues yourself, David? Could be.. Could just be.....
Possum - #20.2 - 2006-09-14 07:19 -
Get your words out of my mouth. Can't you answer a point directly? Do you have to play this game of dodge? Meet a point head on, instead of slithering around it like sidewinder.
Anonymous - #21 - 2006-09-12 21:54 -
Larry - #22 - 2006-09-12 23:10 -
Ah let good old justice sort it out. The wife and the kids of this german man certainly didnt give their ok to the company which produced the movie to show him like that. Easy pickings for her and her lawyer. If they don't watch out, these guys will be blown into financial oblivion and can sleep under the bridge in the future. (And even only a really damaged old bridge no one wants.) ;)
End the war! - #23 - 2006-09-13 02:10 -
Being German, my own nation was always attributed to be the toughest kind of enemy. The History Channel, the Discovery Channel, lots and lots of war movies, any time you needed a tough opponent to fight against, you picked the Germans. Of course, winning over the Germans gave pride to the US Army. German soliders used to be treated with respect. It was during the days around the beginning of the second Iraq war that Rupert Murdoch and his propaganda machine started spewing out such images as "German cowards, axis of weasels". I could not believe what I saw. Throughout several decades, German war actions were reasons for billions of payments to nearly everyone around the world. And suddenly we were know for being weasels. http://politicalhumor.about.com/library/images/blaxisofweasel.htm The public seems to have a very limited memory. It should NOT be forgotten what was being said and done by Americans during these dark years of the Bush junta regime.
Don - #23.1 - 2006-09-13 03:11 -
Would you prefer to be known as a weasel or as a war criminal as Americans are?
Sean Smith - #24 - 2006-09-13 04:43 -
I watched the movie last night. I think the portrayal of this man as a coward and impediment (if not an outright collaborator-appeaser) to the crew's effort to retake the plane is positively disgraceful. And I'm not a big fan of most of the European reaction to 9/11. If he wanted to make this microcosmic political point, Greengrass could have done so without slandering a real victim of the terrorists!
John - #25 - 2006-09-16 00:36 -
One of the things I heard the most about after the film's premiere was the ineptness of the military and FAA response on that morning. Both that view and the view of Mr. Adams as portrayed in the film ignore the way the world was viewed before 9/11. As much as I hate to admit it, the terrorist plan was as unexpected as it was evil. Pre-9/11, all international threats to the U.S. came from overseas, where the military was usually focused. All hijackings ended with a plane on a tarmac somewhere and negotiations. That was protocol everywhere. In that light, the portrayal makes more sense, especially for Europeans, who had dealt with terrorism more than us by then. (Though I do agree the film makers might've taken it too far when he jumps up before the attack.) But even the most jaded American should admit, post-9/11, that hijackings will never work again, even on a domestic Lufthansa flight. If someone gets rowdy on a flight now, the passengers are kicking their ass, an air marshal has a gun to their head, and there's 2 fighters on their tail. We know it's different now. They know it's different now. The first people to know that were on Flight 93. All of them, including Mr. Adams, paid for that knowledge with their lives.
German - #26 - 2006-09-17 18:54 -
I just don`t understand this discussion. All these film about the 9/11 are like propaganda movies. And worse. The american president seemend to have forgotten even the american victims of the 9/11 at his speech to the country this year. I don`t care if some stupid hollywood film maker wants to make germans look coward in a film, that just cannot be based on facts. Cause he wasn`t in the plane, he wasn`t even in a situation like that. Are the americans who jumped from the World Trade Center coward ? Or are they heroes ? How can war make people heroes ? Me as a german, I can say, yes i don`t want to die ! That`s the most normal thing you can say. And me as a german, i`d like to mention that the first person in history who killed himself to kill some of his enemys aswell, was jewish. It was samson about 1200 before christ. He knew that he has to die because he was wounded so strong. So he decided to kill some of his enemys with himself. Thats a fair decision if it was an unfair fight. A lot of people against one. But i would never call jewish people coward because they didn`t fight against the nazis in the concentration camps. And i would never pay to see a film by someone who describes jewish people in the second world war coward. It is sad. To use dramatic and war situations to make some people look as heroes and others as coward.
Don - #26.1 - 2006-09-17 21:00 -
German, the Jews did finally fight - in the battle of the Warsaw Ghetto. Plus uncounted numbers of Jews who fought for the US, Britain, France, and Canada during WWII. The State of Israel is based upon the idea that Jews would and coulr fight for their independent state and it's survival. You state that Bush forgot the 9/11 victims. I'm not sure what you mean, but let's accept the statement to some degree and understand that any horrific event gradually fades into memory naturally. This may have happened with Bush. What is not natural is to turn on a country which is a friend and an ally beginning a day or two after the event, as many, many Europeans. I watched it happen, first by 'journalists' and then joined in by ordinary citizens. And then finally by politicians like Schroeder who pandered - or politicians like Fischer who remained dilent in the face of the indecent reaction to 9/11. Compared to that anything Bush may have said and/or two offensize lines in a movie pale into insignificance....
Kim - #26.1.1 - 2006-09-17 22:48 -
Your right. Actually i didn`t say they didn`t fight. I was just referenced to the ones who didn`t fight. I feel it as a shame that theses things happend in my country. But in my eyes this is a war between religions. The attack was against our free decisions to choose our own religion. Therefore america is a good aim. Cause america is known for his proud and freedom. Like in a war, you should attack the head of the aim, like you did in the irak. I don`t blame the jewish people who died in concentrationcamps. They were no army. They were just defenceless citizen. How could they fight against weapons ? The more pleased i feel now, that israel has an own army, that is strong to devense against argressors. And the more pleased I feel when i see that a german pope made the differences clear, just by using a statement by someone who lived 600 years ago. The reactions were agressive, not productive, violence and so on. He didn`t even say the islam religion is based on the agression against the unfaithfull, he just mentioned that someone someday sayd that. I think this makes clear that we are all possible victims. Just because of our way of thinking. But i would never blame a citizen as an devenseless citizen as recreant. Cause he is shocked by the situation, he is no army and just want`s to live. And i am sorry that this part has to been played by a german in this film. Personaly i think it has been shot down by the american air force. Cause the wreck was dispersed to an area of 30 miles. And that can just happen when it exploded high in the air.
Don - #220.127.116.11 - 2006-09-18 11:44 -
Kim, I haven't seen the movie, and even if I had I probably would not have found the Adams spoken part memorable enough to recall. I'm sorry for him as I am for all of them. But this was a very, very small injustice on a day filled with hundreds of large, loud injustices. What angers me is that this thing was seized on by a number of Europeans who refused at the time (and still refuse) to see the larger injustices of that day. The impression I got at the time was that Europe was shocked by 9/11 - for a day or two. After that much of Europe got back to their usual blood sport - twisting the knife in the wound. Not all Europeans did this I will freely admit; but America's friends in Europe were very very silent for a long time in the face of the blood sport. Or their voices were not heard either in Europe or in the US. Consider the reaction of European heads of state after 9/11. Schroeder and Chirac pandered to the blood sport - Blair and Aznar did not.
JW-Atlantic Review - #18.104.22.168.1 - 2006-09-18 13:33 -
Don, you are repeating yourself. "I haven't seen the movie, and even if I had I probably would not have found the Adams spoken part memorable enough to recall." You can't know it. I am certain you would make a much bigger issue out of this than we Europeans did, if an American 9/11 victim would have been defamed in a European movie. Dozens of US blogs would write hundreds of posts about it. We just wrote one post. Nobody is denying Anti-American reactions right after 9/11. [b][url=http://atlanticreview.org/archives/398-Joschka-Fischer-on-Terrorism-To-Defeat-the-Beast,-Dont-Feed-the-Beast..html]I recommended Anne Applebaum's op-ed[/url][/b] about the reactions after 9/11 and [url=http://atlanticreview.org/archives/404-Tagesthemen-on-911-Harsh-Criticism-Based-on-Lack-of-Understanding.html][b]I recommended Medienkritik's criticism[/b][/url] about the Tagesthemen commentary on the anniversary of 9/11. One of the bigger German papers Handelsblatt critized that commentary as well very sharply. The German media and blogosphere does not ignore Anti-Americanism. The existance of Anti-Americanism in Europe does not mean that we do not have the right to criticize the defamation of a German 9/11 victim -- who had a family with young kids -- in a movie that was seen by millions of people around the world and is now released on DVD. I have said that in previous comments as well. I should not repeat myself.
Don - #22.214.171.124.1.1 - 2006-09-20 00:28 -
"I am certain you would make a much bigger issue out of this than we Europeans did, if an American 9/11 victim would have been defamed in a European movie" JW, I doubt it. I do get worked up about certain things but actually it took an almost daily assault on my sensibilities, values, and country for more than a year to work up my current head of steam. I tend to overlook the small stuff, but what happened post 9/11 was not small stuff....
Vince Di Placido - #126.96.36.199.2 - 2006-09-30 13:37 -
Think of America's un-involvement in World War II until 2 years in, when Pearl Harbour was attacked, despite Germany rampaging through Europe & bombing Britain! Do not now criticise some European nations for not charging in with the America! I wish there had been no Character given the fictional scenario of Pacifism on United 93(although there must have been some who were cautious of rushing a cockpit in a situation they couldn't have fully understood) Europe felt the impact of 9/11 & feel it to this day & share in the disgust & anger at these insane maniacs BUT this horrible tragic incident was USED to "sort out" Iraq & many disagree with that.
Don - #188.8.131.52.2.1 - 2006-10-07 01:06 -
"Think of America's un-involvement in World War II until 2 years in, when Pearl Harbour was attacked, despite Germany rampaging through Europe & bombing Britain!" The US was als lamentably late in supporting Queen Boudicaea against the evil Roman invaders (AD 52), and didn't support Harald at eh Battle of Hastings at all, allowing the evil Frech to conquer fair England in 1066. Lamentable. It seems to have escaped your notice that WWII was fought between 1939 and 1945, while the NATO treaty was signed in 1949. Which means (I hate to belabor the obvious, but needs must) - there was no treaty between the UK and the UK in 1939 and 1940. The UK and US were at best benevolent neutrals.
gracchi - #27 - 2006-09-27 12:34 -
Good post. There are real problems in making real events into films especially one with people whose relatives are still alive involved- it sometimes works I think better to invent the whole group of people which avoids the problems in this article. I'm not sure that there is anyway that this film could have been made without dishonouring somebody's relative without anyone knowing which passengers didn't fight.
Rich - #28 - 2006-09-28 03:28 -
Basically, the whole movie is fiction. There was no passenger fightback - Flight 93 was shot down by fighter aircraft. After the fact, the US authorities decided they needed a heroic story (and didn't need carping as to whether the shootdown was justified) - so they concocted the whole story.
Anonymous - #28.1 - 2006-10-03 13:04 -
Agreed, Rich. Sadly, now even real victims of the tragedy of 9/11 are used to push forth an agenda that Old Europe is full of appeasing cowards refusing to fight terrorists - not enough that 9/11 was used by Bush as an excuse to attack Iraq and totally exploited during the 2004 election campaign. When does it end? The makers of this movie should be ashamed of themselves. I just hope Adams' widow will sue them for this. Pulling the DVD from the market and releasing a new one with a disclaimer at the beginning of the movie, that the portrayal of Christiam Adams is purely fictional and an apology for slandering him, should be the least to expect. Or having the scenes cut from the DVD. That should do it.
rich - #29 - 2006-10-06 18:56 -
Holger - #30 - 2006-11-08 16:33 -
Being a German myself, I wouldn't even mind the depiciton of a German as a de-escalating figure or even a coward if this was pure fiction. After all, Mogadishu was successful, and Germans have, in recent decades and for good or for bad, developed a mentality of keeping out. Since, however, the movie is supposed to be based on facts, and under the circumstances of 9/11, it brings shame to a real family living not too far from where I live, who not only have to suffer the loss of a family member in a terrorist attack in a distant country, but now even his unfounded portrayal as a coward. If the director has any sense of justice, I think, he should apologize publicly to this family.
dlp - #31 - 2007-02-26 22:46 -
The film makers were wrong to single out an individual whose family had opted out of the UAL93 families' agreement to support the making of the film. In this way they are no different from the makers of Futurama (who decided to trash Jimmy Doohan on screen when he didn't participate in their Star Trek parody episode). It was also a symptom of backsliding into the "Airport 19??" syndrome which dictates that there will always be a coward on board whose nerves will crack and cause some dramatic conflict. This being said, I don't remember ANY characters being introduced by name. You have to be an expert on this flight to know that there was a single individual victim who fit the profile of the "cracked" character. I am a film nitpicker who only found out about this controversy by entering "coward United 93" into Google because I knew this episode had to be fictional. I myself thought the comments about Mogadishu were reasonable - Europeans have had more recent experiences with hijacking situations. However, the warning before the attack was pure (and disappointing) Hollywood. The truth is that we don't know what happened on that flight except for phone calls from passengers and FA, the flight data recorder, inadvertant "hot mike" from the Al-Quedans, and the cockpit voice recorder. The CVR was possibly unreleased at the time of this film - witness that the crew may not have been dragged from the cockpit and may have tried to interfere with the hijackers when the passenger attack began. I wish that the film had incorporated this possibility as well. The "standoff" between frightened passengers and frightened hijackers is just a plausible scenario, not reality. It would have been nice for the film makers to admit this in a postscript. Incidently, what I find offensive is that some people still believe that the airplane was shot down despite the documentation. It might have happened had the government lines of communication not been screwed up, but they were. Read Aviation Week from the past year or so to see blow-by-blow transcripts and event recordings from the flight data recorder. This is not the record of a shoot-down. Airframes under stress do come apart before crashing and can be spread over a large area. Big areal explosions from missile attacks happen in the movies, not real life. If facts aren't good enough, then no doubt, you are some of the same folks who believe aliens from Roswell downed Flight 800 and the Isrealis destroyed the WTC (and the moon landings were faked). Nothing I say could help these people (except, maybe, get educated! :)).
Aaron Tom - #32 - 2007-02-27 08:42 -
I saw it, and this thought never crossed my mind. Maybe it did happen this way, maybe it didn't. There are certainly some artistic licenses that movies are entitled to. Maybe it was a coincidence. I do find the articles defending of Christian Adams character to be ridiculous: "One of the most impressive things about Christian was his willingness to dive in and do whatever needed to be done," said Carol Sullivan, director of the German Wine Information Bureau in New York. "No job was ever beneath him." That was his EMPLOYER! It's called Public Relations. What the fuck is she supposed to say? "Yeah, he never made rash decisions, and he wasn't a very good employee...eh, no big loss." Of course she's going to say things like that. The guy just died for God's sake! The simple fact of the matter is, it's a movie, and people like to bitch about things.
Anonymous - #33 - 2007-02-27 20:09 -
Here's an interesting twist: the decision of to make the German victim into the classic Airport 19?? character who cracks under pressure was made by the German actor who played him. Greenglass allowed the actors to improvise their performances based on what they knew about "their" victim. In most cases, that knowledge was based on communication with the families, but not in the case of Christian Adams. Thus, the actor himself decided to chew some scenary and give an otherwise excellent docudrama an unneeded "Hollywood" dimension. Greenglass' responsibility is that he did nothing to curb this guy's performance. It's a little similar to what Orlando Jones did for the "character" of Jar-Jar Binks in Star Wars I, leading to endless tirades about Lucas' bigotry. Maybe all movies need a PC consultant (not talking about computers here) as well as a technical advisor :).
Anonymous - #34 - 2007-03-19 06:38 -
I found that post, after watching the film. I can sincerely say that it's sadly easy to find the hidden intention in the picture of the German character. But it's sadder to find (when trying to get some information about the actual passenger) a stupid transatlantic fight... That movie disrespects a tragically murdered citizen with an obvious motivation.
Peter - #36 - 2009-01-28 19:52 -
REVISED ENTRY Hello everyone! World War II was not a 'Good' war, as they want us to believe. It was a Bad war like ALL wars! How Three Million Germans Died AFTER the War was Over Why the Germans were ALSO Victims of World War II The crimes committed AGAINST the Germans by the Allies in WW II were almost as horrendous as those committed BY the Germans. Five hundred thousand Germans, mainly women, children and old people were victims of the Air War which left European cultural centers such as Dresden a desert of smoldering ruins. The purpose of these bombings was to to terrorize the German civilian home front. Attempts to hinder German war production by bombing were basically unsuccessful. Another serious crime against the Germans was the treatment of German POWs in open areas along the Rhine. This was primarily an American endeavor. Hundreds of Germans died in these camps due to the lack of cover and adequate food. Germans who tried to throw food and water over the wire were physically threatened. Certainly 'die Flucht und Vertreibung' (flight and expulsion) was a GERMAN holocaust. At least l5 million Germans were forcibly and brutally expelled from Eastern Germany and Eastern and Southern Europe by Poles, Czechs and Russians. In many cases, they were expelled from areas which had been Prussian and/or German for as long as 800 years (East Prussia). Of the l5 million Germans expelled from their ancestral homes, some 2 million died from mass rape, murder, beatings and starvation on the road to what was left of Germany. Women and young girls were mass raped from the ages of 8 to 80. Old men and boys who tried to protect them were often castated and beaten or shot to death. Many of the German women who were raped were killed and, in some cases, nailed (crucified) to barn doors as documented in Nemmersdorf, East Prussia. (See videos on www. youtube.de.) The Allies' criminal and ill-conceived decision to deprive Germany of l/4 of her land in the East resulted in some 82 million residents of 'rump' Germany now being crammed into an area the size of Montana. Poland, with a much smaller population, is nearly as big as her western neighbor (nemesis). Within Poland's borders are the old German provinces of Silesia, half of former East Prussia, West Prussia, Danzig and parts of Brandenburg. Gone are the bastions of German culture such as Koenigsberg, Breslau, Danzig and Stettin. Stettin is on the WEST side of the Oder but it was still given to the Poles. What German could not help but feel the pain and helplessness of such unfair criminal losses? Of course, the propaganda is that since the Russians refused to give back the eastern part of Poland which they had taken in conjunction with the Nazi in l939, Germany was to be deprived of territory in the east to compensate poor Poland. Rarely known is the fact that Poland had taken the land in the East from the Soviet Union back in the 20s when the Soviets were weak. As early as l920, Lord Curzon, the British Foreign Minister, had proposed that the so-called Curzon Line would be a fair border for Poland. The present boarder of Poland with Russia is now basically along the Curzon Line so the need to fill the Polish goose with East German corn was a hypocritical fallacy. I am an American who served in West Germany twice during the Cold War. I learned about the Flight and Expulsion from Germans who had lost their homes and everything else and had experienced first-hand famine, mass rape and the murder of their loved ones. Even I, an American, who experienced none of this feel compelled to study this great injustice while experiencing deep sorrow, pain and anger. I find it haard to believe that America and its allies sanctioned these crimes against the German people. Yes, there are treaties forced on the Germans so they could achieve unification which recognize the inappropriate Oder-Neisse Line. But as Abramam Lincoln said, 'Nothing is settled untdil it is settled fairly. The problem of the flight and expulsion and Germany's eastern border with Poland will continue to fester until a fair solution is found. Perhaps Americans could better understand the feelings of millions of German expellees if they could imagine the US losing a war and the victors arbitrarily awarding my home state California, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico and the great state of Texas to Mexico. If the truth be known, Mexico had a much more valid claim to these states than Poland ever did to Eastern Germany. Our friends the Brits could better understand if they would allow themselves to imagine the lost of one quarter of their present territory. One last thought; the German expellees from the very first days formally renounced violence and revenge when it came to reclaiming their homes and property. If they had not done this, can you imagine what the situation might be even now. Like the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, they very might very well might be daily acts of violence between the German expellees and the Poles. Instead, the German expellees have remained peaceful, but never the less, well aware of the great injustice that was done to them. Someone has said, 'The greatest loss there is, is the loss of one's home.' Dear Friends, If you find the above interesting, I would be grateful if you could do some research about the 'Flight and Expulsion.' Ask your German friends and aquaintances if they are from the 'lost lands' in the East. Ask them about their experiences at the end of the War. You will be amazed and perhaps shocked by what they went through. There are some informative videos on www.youtube.de (and com) showing the explusion and atrocities against the Germans. Sincere best wishes to you all, Peter
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