Yesterday, I attended a training where I saw the film Rebirth, which is a deeply moving depiction of the grief process that I would recommend to anyone who has suffered a traumatic loss (as long as you have done some healing work of your own, for the story is extraordinarily powerful and is guaranteed to stir your emotions). The film juxtaposes time-lapse photography of the rebuilding under way at the World Trade Centers site with intimate interviews of five people who lost loved ones or were injured in the 9/11 attack. The images and stories evolve over nearly a decade of filming, creating a moving testament both to the deep pain caused by traumatic loss and to the resiliency humans -- and communities -- bring to the challenges of healing and recovery.
In a feature story published in 2011 when Rebirth was first released, Doris Toumarkine writes for Film Journal International:
While Rebirth makes fascinating use of the time-lapse footage of the rebuilding, it is the profoundly affected five subjects with compelling stories of trauma, bravery and recovery who provide the emotional life and narrative spine of the film. Their presence, also recorded over many years ... and captured digitally as they sit alone against a black background, gives the picture the distinction of being the first long-term film record of 9/11 survivors and families coping with grief and trauma.
The film is also being used as an educational and therapeutic tool, which is explained in an audio presentation by Project Rebirth's Research and Education Advisor Dr. Donna Gaffney:
It's a profound film because there are such incredible human stories that people really can see themselves, and they can see other people in their lives -- and they learn something. They learn that there are no rules and regulations about how one grieves, that resilience is something that we're all capable of, and behaviors and activities that help us move forward and grow are attainable by each and every one of us.The Project Rebirth website's film page includes downloadable material to help viewers prepare to watch Rebirth and discuss it afterward, including a "Guide for Individual, Family & Community Conversations" and a "Guide for Educators." The education page also features a video of experts on grief, trauma, and education participating in the "Project Rebirth: Learning From Disaster Symposium" at Georgetown University and discussing the implications the film might have on their fields of study and practice.