The documentary You Are Here: A Come From Away Story, about the 7,000 passengers and crew who descended on Gander International Airport in Newfoundland when American airspace was closed during the 9/11 attacks, plays the Salmar Classic on Wednesday, May 29 at 7:30 p.m. (File photo)

Column: Documentary offers gander at Newfoundland hospitality during 9/11 attacks

Cinemaphile by Joanne Sargent

We have two movies to tell you about this week: Sir shows twice on Saturday and You Are Here: A Come From Away Story plays on Wednesday.

Sir is a tender drama from India about a man and a woman of different social classes, both of whose arranged marriages didn’t pan out. In Ratna’s case, her husband died two months after they married, and in Ashwin’s case the marriage was called off at the last minute due to his fiancee’s infidelity.

Ratna came to Mumbai from her small village to be the live-in help in the affluent household of Ashwin and his new bride. When the wedding was cancelled, she became the servant of the young, handsome and quite depressed Ashwin. The two bond and find solace sharing their wedding woes and soon Ashwin feels closer to Ratna than anyone, but he faces the pressure of his family and social standing.

A slow-brewing attraction develops and Ashwin’s bond with Ratna extends beyond a master-servant relationship. Even when a romance looks like it’s on the horizon, Ratna remains guarded, knowing that Ashwin’s affections aren’t going to rescue her from her status or change how society sees her. Class issues make the romance feel implausible, but is it possible there can be a happily ever after?

Sir shows at 5 and 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 25 at the Salmar Classic.

Our Wednesday documentary is guaranteed to make you proud to be Canadian. You Are Here: A Come From Away Story introduces us to the real people and stories that were the inspiration for the extraordinary Broadway musical Come From Away. When American airspace was closed after the 9/11 attacks, all U.S. bound commercial airplanes were re-routed. Thirty-eight planes carrying almost 7,000 passengers and crew descended on Gander International Airport in Newfoundland. As the passengers sat stranded in their airplanes for almost 24 hours, Ganderites scrambled to prepare food and beds for when the thousands were finally allowed to disembark.

Read more: Column: Daughter, estranged father bond in The Elephant and the Butterfly

Read more: Through Black Spruce, film adaptation of Giller Prize-winning novel, to play the Classic

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The citizens of Gander met the exhausted, hungry and distraught passengers with an overwhelming display of kindness and goodwill. For five days they opened their arms and comforted strangers in a time of confusion and mourning and in this movie they talk about the life-changing experience. We also meet some of the “come from aways” and hear how their time in Gander profoundly affected them.

This emotional and sometimes humourous documentary will definitely lift your heart.

You Are Here: A Come From Away Story shows on Wednesday, May 29 at 7:30 p.m., also at the Salmar Classic.


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