As I write this I am sitting in an airport, en route to the Telluride Film Festival, watching CNN and recalling a blog post one year ago as I watched post-Katrina coverage at the airport...Over the past few days I've finally had a chance to watch the entire four-hour Spike Lee documentary, "When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts." It is a powerful film filled almost entirely with images and stories that stir tremendous sadness and considerable anger. I found it hard not to watch almost the entire movie with a lump in my throat.
Lee's exceptional film, well-edited and constructed with a terrific soundtrack, looks at the Katrina disaster itself, the immediate aftermath and the situation in New Orleans today. "The aftermath is worse than the actual levees breaking," one person says in the film, while another decries FEMA and their lack of action during and after the tragedy, saying simply, "FEMA's a disaster." And yet another offers, "FEMA's a dirty word, its just a four letter word, so i just say FEMA now instead of the other nasty words." The film concludes with a note of optimism, exploring the resilience and determination of many locals, particularly those in "the lower 9."