Saint of 9/11

FALLEN ANGEL Judge is lifted from the ruins.
FALLEN ANGEL Judge is lifted from the ruins.

Time Out says

Glenn Holsten’s new documentary is a cinematic obituary for one of the thousands of souls who perished in the attack on the World Trade Center: the Irish-American FDNY chaplain, a gay Franciscan priest named Father Mychal Judge. Saint of 9/11 opens early on the morning of that fateful day, when Judge reported to the WTC along with his flock. Sometime after the collapse of the first tower, a photographer shot the indelible image of Judge’s lifeless body being carried out of the rubble by a clutch of burly, anguished firefighters.

The film never makes clear exactly how Judge died (presumably he was struck by falling debris). Instead it travels back to recount his childhood in Brooklyn, calling to the priesthood, and ministry to the homeless and people with AIDS (and eerily, the families of those who died aboard TWA Flight 800 in 1996), as well as his dedication to Alcoholics Anonymous and his semipublic homosexuality. The film is undeniably moving—whether a saint or not, Judge was clearly touched with some kind of grace. Yet near the end, a former Jesuit friend reveals that “Mychal thought he was one of the worst sinners,” and you wish the filmmaker had more deeply explored the private darkness of this man who brought so much light. (Now playing; IFC Center.) — Tom Beer



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