University students last weekend gave a preview showing in Tokyo of “United 93,” a U.S. film about one of the airplanes caught up in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, some two months before the movie’s official debut in Japan, to raise public awareness about the incident.
Waseda University student Nozomi Hoshino, 20, who led the group organizing the screening, said the organizers hope the event will raise awareness in the audience of the incident and issues such as international relations and security.
Hoshino said she did not know a Waseda student was among the passengers on board the doomed flight until she watched the film in New York in April.
This knowledge also encouraged her to organize the event, she said.
“We were in high school or junior high school when the attacks occurred and many in my generation don’t remember them well,” she said.
About 150 people, mostly in their 20s or younger, and a Japanese filmmaker and screenwriter took part in the weekend event.
The film re-creates the attempt by passengers and crew aboard United Airlines Flight 93 to retake the San Francisco-bound jetliner after four Muslim hijackers seized the cockpit minutes after the plane took off from Newark, N.J.
It is believed the effort by passengers and crew to retake the plane prevented the hijackers from steering the jetliner into a target in Washington, possibly the White House. The plane instead crashed in a rural part of Pennsylvania, and all 45 people on board were killed.
Ayako Hatano, a 24-year-old University of Tokyo student in the audience, said the film made her question whether the passengers and crew should be considered heroes in a national patriotic sense, as they are widely regarded in America.
“If we simply regard them as heroes, we could overlook why such a thing had to happen,” Hatano said. “I don’t think they were thinking about the nation. They just wanted to live and see people they loved again.”
The free screening was done with the cooperation from the distribution company, Hoshino said, adding the organizers plan similar screenings in late July or early August in Tokyo and Nagoya, before the film opens in theaters Aug. 12.
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