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Land of Plenty - Wenders' 9/11 movie hits Venice



Story by: Jack Foley

A PORTRAIT of a post-9/11 America gripped by paranoia and poverty, as depicted by film-maker, Wim Wenders, played to a packed audience at the Venice Film Festival in the days leading up to the third anniversary of the September 11 attacks.

Land of Plenty chronicles the efforts of a troubled Vietnam vet to protect the US in the wake of the attacks, as well as focusing on a young religious missionary, who works in the slums of LA.

The movie is reportedly seen through the eyes of both characters, and is said to be filled with the sounds of right-wing radio talk shows hailing the efforts of President, George W Bush, to counter terrorism, while the country, itself, is peopled by the homeless and marginalised.

Despite being controversial, and the latest in a long line of approaching films and televison movies/series to take a look at America, post-9/11, the German director insists that Land of Plenty is not anti-American, but rather it is a film that attempts to deal with the confusion, pain and paranoia that still surrounds the attacks.

However, in an interview with an Italian newspaper, Wenders did go on to make a veiled attack on Bush, accusing him of labelling anyone who doesn't agree with his policies as being anti-US.

The movie, however, seeks to address such pre-conceived notions and eventually finds its two lead characters working together to investigate the drive-by shooting of a homeless Middle Eastern, which they both witnessed, and which compels them to put their faith and patriotism to the test.

Land of Plenty is one of 22 films competing for the prestigious Golden Lion award at the Venice showpiece event, which ends on September 11.

And it was largely applauded at the preview screening on the Lido, even though some of the one-dimensional characters and plot failed to convince some critics.

Its screening followed that of The Hamburg Cell, another 9/11-based movie, which follows the movements of the hijackers from the German based al Qaeda group involved in the US attacks, and which has since been screened on Channel 4 after receiving its world premiere at the Edinburgh Film Festival.

In defending Land of Plenty against the criticisms, however, Wenders, who has previously directed the acclaimed movies, The Buena Vista Social Club and Wings of Desire, said that he hoped the film would help to ensure that 'truth is not an altogether lost notion in today’s political and social realities - even in America, even in 2004'.

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