Newsday, July 28, 2006
PASADENA, Calif. - How to stand out among all the Ground Zero documentaries premiering around the fifth anniversary of the World Trade Center attack?
PBS' 'America Rebuilds' resounds as 'a very powerful documentary about healing,' says Mariska Hargitay, star of NBC's 'Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,' New York resident, and narrator of the emotional film premiering the night of Sept. 11.
While other reports examine the events and circumstances of that horrific day, Hargitay said yesterday at the TV critics' press tour, this one explores 'how do we begin again? How do we begin to clean it up, to tend to our hearts? It's so overwhelming. This movie guides you through it.' Debates over an appropriate memorial are part of the focus. So is a portrait of current activity at the site, from early tenants in the rebuilt 7 World Trade building to the tour guides and protestors still working out their own reactions to the disaster.
The second part of a planned 'America Rebuilds' trilogy that began with 2002's clean-up study 'A Year at Ground Zero,' this 'Return to Ground Zero' zeroes in on 'the intersection of emotion with engineering,' says Stefan Pryor, president of the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation charged with reviving the site.
That balance tips toward science for a PBS' 'NOVA' hour debuting Sept. 5. 'Building on Ground Zero' follows up the 2002 report 'Why the Towers Fell,' reporting that earlier speculations on structural causes for the collapse may not be proven accurate. Further investigation suggests not that the trade center trusses gave way and floors 'pancaked,' but that the trusses held so well, supporting columns were broken. Yet this history update only leads into examining the future, said program producer Larry Klein.
'We look at what happened on 9/11 and what that revealed about the general issue of safety in all tall buildings, not just the World Trade Center,' Klein said yesterday. He wants to 'use the event to say, how do we move forward? How do we make safer buildings?' The 'NOVA' hour assesses possible building code revisions versus their cost, and shows advances being built into projects like 7 World Trade and Shanghai's new world's-tallest-building, the World Financial Center.