On September 1, 2004, Chechen terrorists took over School #1 in Beslan, Russia, capturing both the school grounds and the 1200 children and parents who had gathered there to celebrate the first day of school. What transpired over the next 54 hours for those hostages -- sandwiched together in a sweltering gymnasium without food or water -- and their helpless loved ones gathered outside was a tragedy so incomprehensible that any film that attempts to tell its story is practically guaranteed a degree of success. Such is the case with Three Days in September, a Showtime documentary that will air on the channel in May, after premiering at Tribeca.
Narrated by Julia Roberts, the film tells the story of the Beslan school siege through the eyes of those who were involved, including three adults who were hostages, a girl who spent the entire three days outside the school with her mother hoping her little sister would make it out alive, and Rulan Aushev, a former president of Ingushetia who was the only person allowed inside to negotiate with the terrorists. Their interviews are inter-cut with news footage of the crisis, limited video from inside the school (shot by the terrorists), and images of the ruined school as it looks today, and provide details as Roberts’ voice-over takes viewers the through the chronological events of the siege.