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CBS Screens Sept. 11 Documentary

March 5, 2002

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NEW YORK (AP) _ CBS’ two-hour documentary on the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks contains virtually no graphic footage of injuries but is filled with earthy language responding to the day’s horror.

The network will air the documentary, with never-before-seen footage shot from inside the World Trade Center that day, on Sunday. CBS screened a copy for reporters Monday night.

Some relatives of Sept. 11 victims had urged CBS not to show the documentary, culled from footage shot by two French filmmakers, brothers Gedeon and Jules Naudet.

There’s only one scene where blood was visible, from a cut on the face of a firefighter seen catching his breath after the towers’ collapse.

The Naudets, who were on the scene because they were shooting a film about a rookie firefighter, said they decided on their own not to shoot any gory video. Jules Naudet, who was in the lobby of the World Trade Center, said he saw two women on fire but instinctively kept his camera away.

The film shows Fire Department Chaplain Mychal Judge silently praying as he surveyed the scene in the Tower One lobby. Minutes later, a still shot of firefighters carrying Judge’s lifeless body away from the building is shown.

The documentary contains numerous expletives, perhaps an unprecedented amount for network television. It starts at the first scene of an airplane flying into the building: Several firefighters gaze up in horror and say, ``Holy (expletive).″

Narrator Robert De Niro warns viewers of the language in the film’s opening. CBS executives conceded it was a much-discussed issue.

``The language was rough but the circumstances were rough,″ said executive producer Susan Zirinsky. ``These men had never been tested before.″

The documentary is a narrative of the experience of one firehouse and its men, following them from the weeks before Sept. 11 to the rescue operation at Ground Zero.

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