How to celebrate a film on tragedy?

How to celebrate a film on tragedy? 1If the biopic has been a resilient award winner during the last few years, there is another form bubbling up that might best be thought of as the tragi-pic. Exploring circumstances leading up to and following a singular event is the main thrust of such recent films as “Flags of Our Fathers,” “The Queen” and “Bobby.” Perhaps nothing exemplifies the emerging trend quite so strongly as “World Trade Center” and “United 93,” both exploring the highly charged emotional terrain of Sept. 11.

Both those films began their awards campaigns in earnest last week. Paramount hosted a widely covered event featuring “World Trade Center” and filmmaker Oliver Stone in conjunction with their receiving awards for movie of the year and director of the year from the Hollywood Film Festival. Universal mailed out screeners of “United 93,” some with a reproduction of a print advertisement that described it as “the film you need to see.”

Public support of the films by survivors and victims’ families who do not see themselves in any way as awards-season operatives points up the delicate line that filmmakers and studios must walk this season as they try to reap honors for films that draw on real-life tragedy.

MORE