|© 2006 by C. E. Murphy. All Rights Reserved.
2006 TRIBECA FILM FESTIVAL
As the nonfiction film has grown in popularity, the style has altered
somewhat. Traditionally, there was what has come to be called "the
talking heads," that is, a person or group of people who address the
subject matter who are filmed from the neck up. It can sometimes
lead to compelling viewing depending on the personality of the
speaker(s). While watching THE HEART OF STEEL, directed by
Angelo J. Guglielmo Jr.
In the aftermath of the attacks on the World Trade Center on
September 11, 2001, Guglielmo and several others volunteered
their services to provide assistance and aid to the workers at
the wreckage. Many were initially turned away, but this band of
what came to be called "Renegade Volunteers" simply wouldn't
take no for answer and all found ways to circumvent the red tape
The film is a compilation of interviews with these people --
men and women named Jen, London, Esther, Frank, Bobbi, Helene,
Ami, Stafford, and Mike. These are actors, investment bankers,
real estate agents who dropped everything to offer their assistance.
Their prime goal was to make sure that the workers at the site of
what had been the World Trade Center received whatever they needed
whether it be a new pair of boots to flashlights to bottled water.
The film, Guglielmo's second nonfiction work, isn't flashy or
shot in a particularly artsy manner. Instead, he concentrates on what
the people are saying and their stories are packed with emotion.
THE HEART OF STEEL, which draws its title from a an
actual artifact fashioned for one of the volunteers by one of the worker
to express his appreciation for what she did, ultimately proves to be
a worthy document about a special group of ordinary people who
proved their mettle. We may live in cynical times, but the men and
women in the film prove that the best in human nature can be
manifest in a crisis.