Ariel Dorfman and American Shadows | Spotlight | Indy Week
Pin It

Ariel Dorfman and American Shadows 

click to enlarge 9.6-movie-spot_american.gif

When the planes hit the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001, Duke University professor Ariel Dorfman experienced a unique sense of déjà vu and horror. "My reaction was 'Not again. Not again, not another Sept. 11. Again, a Tuesday, again in the morning, again planes bombing and destroying lives,'" he recalls in American Shadows, a multimedia work produced by his son Rodrigo for the Web site of P.O.V. Borders, the PBS documentary program.

For 28 years, Sept. 11 had signified a different tragedy for Dorfman, for on that date in 1973, Chile's dream of a popularly elected socialist government was destroyed in a U.S.-backed coup that ended with the death of President Salvador Allende and the installation of a military junta headed by General Augusto Pinochet. Dorfman, who was employed in the Allende administration, took his family into European exile after the Chilean coup. In 1985, he began teaching at Duke University, where he is Walter Hines Page Professor of Literature and Professor of Latin American Studies.

His son, Durham filmmaker and journalist Rodrigo Dorfman, was 6 years old when Allende fell, and he subsequently grew up in Amsterdam speaking French, Dutch and Spanish. For years the younger Dorfman has collaborated on film projects with his father, and their most recent project was commissioned after P.O.V. saw a longer project the Dorfmans had produced for the Duke alumni magazine.

American Shadows consists of three short segments, each featuring the elder Dorfman discussing the two Sept. 11 catastrophes and the evolution of his own consciousness over three decades. Having experienced one Sept. 11 already, Dorfman wonders if Americans will be shaken from their sense of innocence, which could be seen as a narcissistic indifference to the rest of the world's suffering. "We should use this occasion to understand all the victims of history, all the survivors of history," Dorfman says. "This would be a great opportunity for growth, and for introspection."

American Shadows is located at www.pbs.org/pov/borders/2006/ch_americanshadows.html. Ariel Dorfman is the author of many works of fiction and non-fiction, including the play Death and the Maiden and his memoir Heading South, Looking North. For more on his Chilean experience, go to www.adorfman.duke.edu/sept11 for his presentation titled "In the Footsteps of Sept. 11, 1973," which also was produced by Rodrigo Dorfman. Other work by Rodrigo Dorfman can be found at www.melloweb.com.

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

INDY Week publishes all kinds of comments, but we don't publish everything.

  • Comments that are not contributing to the conversation will be removed.
  • Comments that include ad hominem attacks will also be removed.
  • Please do not copy and paste the full text of a press release.

Permitted HTML:
  • To create paragraphs in your comment, type <p> at the start of a paragraph and </p> at the end of each paragraph.
  • To create bold text, type <b>bolded text</b> (please note the closing tag, </b>).
  • To create italicized text, type <i>italicized text</i> (please note the closing tag, </i>).
  • Proper web addresses will automatically become links.

Latest in Spotlight

  • Paul Newman, 1925-2008

    Paul Newman, 1925-2008

    A hero we could believe in
    • Oct 3, 2008
  • Remembering director Sydney Pollack, and his visit to Durham

    Remembering director Sydney Pollack, and his visit to Durham

    Pollack's death Monday, May 26, at age 73 represents the passing of a true film raconteur and accomplished director.
    • May 27, 2008
  • <i>Om Shanti Om</i>

    Om Shanti Om

    Om Shanti Om delivers the glitter and glamour, the comedy and thrills, religion and the supernatural, mother love, high fashion and eye-popping  production numbers in proper masala fashion.
    • Nov 14, 2007
  • More »


Twitter Activity

Most Recent Comments

I find this rather interesting ..My name is Gary E.Queen .I am a grand son of Thomas H. Queen,Descendant ,Of …

by Gary E. Queen on The Queen Family (Spotlight)

"He was the picture of a man comfortable in his own skin and celebrity." I never met Pollack, but I …

by rwcass on Remembering director Sydney Pollack, and his visit to Durham (Spotlight)

This may be Don Cheadle's masterpiece. The way he stays in character throughout the entire performance is Oscar-worthy. Go see …

by lovinit on Talk to me (Spotlight)

Thanks Godfrey. I sometimes disagree strongly with you (like on The Queen, which I think you wildly misjudged and misunderstood), …

by Tim on Robert Altman, 1925-2006, consummate contrarian (Spotlight)

Comments

I find this rather interesting ..My name is Gary E.Queen .I am a grand son of Thomas H. Queen,Descendant ,Of …

by Gary E. Queen on The Queen Family (Spotlight)

"He was the picture of a man comfortable in his own skin and celebrity." I never met Pollack, but I …

by rwcass on Remembering director Sydney Pollack, and his visit to Durham (Spotlight)

Most Read

No recently-read stories.

Visit the archives…

© 2016 Indy Week • 201 W. Main St., Suite 101, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
RSS Feeds | Powered by Foundation