"Rebuilding The World Trade Center": A crane in 2012 working...

"Rebuilding The World Trade Center": A crane in 2012 working the overnight shift at the World Trade Center's Transportation Hub, with the nearly completed Tower One rising above. Credit: History / Marcus Robinson

THE SPECIAL "Rebuilding the World Trade Center"

WHEN | WHERE Thursday night at 6 on History

WHAT IT'S ABOUT Irish artist Marcus Robinson spent eight years watching the Freedom Tower rise out of Ground Zero in lower Manhattan. He used time-lapse photography and a lot of shoe leather to capture the personal stories of the men and women involved in this spectacular engineering project. He placed 13 cameras around the site to record various stages of construction, minute after minute ... year after year. The result is a comprehensive look at construction, from its initial stages to the last, stirring touch.

MY SAY Robinson's film attempts to capture time, beauty, loss, the human spirit and, above all, rebirth over one of the most tragic scars on Earth. The attempt succeeds -- but how is something of a mystery.

"I believe," he says, "that by capturing the beautiful images out of the transformation, it will be able to tell a story of light emerging out of darkness and destruction."

But light emerging out of darkness at very high speed -- the time-lapse component -- can quickly induce viewer vertigo. Plus, it doesn't necessarily yield a clear-cut visual narrative, anyway, given the vast complexity of this site.

Robinson had the good aesthetic sense to use that footage sparingly and instead turn his camera on the people who made this miracle on the corner of West and Vesey streets happen in the first place. As you might imagine, they are the heroes of this piece, these Hickeys, Franzeses, Mulligans, McCombers, St. Clairs and Campbells, and the list goes on. They are the ones -- you begin to suspect -- who are also made of steel and rock. Robinson confers on their efforts a spiritual tangent that -- in the closing seconds -- is moving, indeed.

BOTTOM LINE Wonderful film, and do watch the last two minutes -- a worthy capper, you might say.


Top Stories


Unlimited Digital AccessOnly 25¢for 5 months