People have a tendency to forget things fast. But not Fred White (played by director Charles Libin), who feels guilty about the death of his sister Maud, which he was involved in twenty years earlier. The circumstances at the time were dark and violent, and - according to Fred - linked to 9/11. Divorced, unemployed, drunk and plagued by anxiety and a need to do penance, he hires a film student to record his testimony and his quest.
In American Combatant, Libin makes clever use of part of the feature film he made in 1988 entitled The Distribution of Lead, in which we see a bunch of white-collar revolutionaries on the eve of Black Monday, after a failed coup at their firm in the World Trade Center, as they force their way into Fred’s sister’s apartment. There, a game of cat and mouse ensues that Libin edits back-to-front in his film while we follow Fred’s odyssey through Lower Manhattan in the present, visiting his ex-wife and children in brownstone Brooklyn and, at the start of a new day, to the beach on Long Island. The result is an effective and topical film about a time that is plagued by paranoia, politics and distorted idealism. With a beautiful soundtrack by John Zorn. (GT)