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At the movies on September 11, 2001

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Monsoon-Wedding_lEight years ago at the Toronto Film Festival, I went to the 8:30am screening of Monsoon Wedding. And when I emerged two hours later, the world had changed. A colleague grabbed me by the hand and pulled me to crowds gathered around a TV screen: We watched and rewatched footage of hell on earth–hell in my home town. In my head, beautiful images of crimson and gold flowers freshly absorbed from Mira Nair’s vibrant movie became forever associated with TV images of airplanes, smoke, buildings collapsing to the ground, and death.

It took me a few years before I could bear to look at Monsoon Wedding again. And when I did, I relived the memory of that horrific day. But something else happened, something sweet: I loved the movie all the more for its simple, enduring themes of family and continuity–and for reminding me that movies, like so many good things, have the power to unite us in joy.

So on this eighth anniversary of 9/11, tell me: What movie do you associate with an important moment, happy or sad, serious or silly in your life?