During the filming, I asked members of the crew to find something that carried the meaning of what happened here. There were a dozen or so objects in a bag marked, "Things Found in the Beslan School". A protractor; a cardboard clock for learning how to tell the time; an alphabet book; a map of England with London and Oxford and Liverpool all clearly marked. There were postcards of Pushkin and Tchaikovsky and Tolstoy, a school register for eight-year olds with columns for performance in tests and a complete set of vinyl LPs of the story "Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves". There was a strong sense that it was not only people that died at Beslan that day.
In the school gymnasium -- where most of the deaths occurred -- there was a rain soaked poster expressing solidarity from the school children of Columbine in the United States: "Children of Russian School, We are with you" it said.
We have to ask ourselves what we are doing when we make films like this. Terrorists want to change the world, but their tactic is to get on the nine o'clock news. If we following the law of diminishing returns, terrorists must try harder and harder to catch the eye of the news editor and the commissioner of documentaries. At Beslan they succeeded at a cost which can be seen in the film. But the world didn't change. They have already announced that there will be more attacks. This is going to go on.
It was a shocking film to make.
Tuesday, July 12, 2005
PBS is to show a film about the Beslan siege. The film's director, Kevin Sim, comments:
Posted by David McDuff at 4:48 pm