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film criticism by maryann johanson | since 1997

question of the day: Where are all the movies about Hurricane Katrina?

New Orleans Times-Picayune film critic Mike Scott asked an excellent question over the weekend:

Where are all the movies about Hurricane Katrina?

From NOLA.com:

[F]ive years after the storm dumped a tragedy on New Orleans, and nine months after The Weinstein Co. dumped “Hurricane Season” [which would have been the first Katrina-centered Hollywood film] unceremoniously as a direct-to-DVD release — New Orleans still is waiting for that first major Katrina movie.

There have been a number of narrative films that have referenced the storm — movies such as “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” and “Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans.” But the storm in those films and others like them is only a peripheral element, tacked onto an existing script as an afterthought.

Why is a Katrina film necessary? Scott continues:

For many local movie buffs, it’s a source of both irritation and frustration — first, because a “real” Katrina film would serve as a way of validating our pain, standing as recognition from The Outside of all that we have endured and all that we have accomplished in the past five years. Second, because those of us who lived through the first five years of the Katrina rebuild know just how many great untold stories there are in the city, how many emotional tales there are in Gentilly, how many unbelievable stories live in eastern New Orleans, and how many absolute heartbreakers reside in the Lower 9th Ward.

Surely, it’s not still too soon to tell them. After all, Oliver Stone’s “World Trade Center” went into production in October 2005 — four years after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. It landed in theaters in August 2006, just before the fifth anniversary. Paul Greengrass’ “United 93” arrived even earlier, in April 2006.

So where are the Katrina movies?

Where indeed? What’s the holdup? Will we ever see a film that can encapsulate the hugeness of the disaster?

(If you have a suggestion for a QOTD, feel free to email me. Responses to this QOTD sent by email will be ignored; please post your responses here.)


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