‘Liberty Street: Alive at Ground Zero’


Stretched to an unendurable 118 minutes and consisting of 12 chapters (one set to a suggestive jazz track called “Que?”), this 9-11 doc focuses on several residents of 114 Liberty Street, who had the facade of their building knocked off and are determined to reclaim their homes. Director Peter Josyph intercuts shot after shot of large-scale cleanup processes with postcard-ready images of the river. As his subjects tell their stories in little pieces, he indulges in frantic jump cuts (to, say, religious crosses), Current Affair slo-mo, and leaky metaphors. That someone illogically, repeatedly, compares a disembodied hand to “the Sistine Chapel” doesn’t mean it gathers portent. Still, Josyph has written a high-grade cheez roots-rock song, performed by the band Corporal Punishment over the closing credits: “World Trade/Burning the sky/Desert man wants to blow me up/I don’t know why/World Trade/U.S. of A./Mama wants to know/If that was yesterday.”