Black September TerroristAlready?
Munich, as we have previously discussed, is Steven Spielberg’s next flick. Those of you who are seeing Jarhead this weekend will also be the first to see the trailer for Munich in a theatre (the rest of you can click here). This story of the vengeance taken by Israel against the perpetrators of the Munich massacre, where 11 Israeli Olympic atheletes were murdered is already generating Oscar buzz. Of course Spielberg is at the helm, but there’s also the screenplay written by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Tony Kushner (Angels in America) and the stars, an international cast including Eric Bana (Black Hawk Down), Daniel Craig (the newly named James Bond, Layer Cake) and Geoffrey Rush (Shine).

The LA Times recently started a new Web site dedicated to anything and everything having to do with awards shows called The Envelope. A current poll asking readers to predict this year’s best-picture Oscar has Munich in the lead, with 30.5% of the vote. Expect a lot of controversy. Do not expect a simple minded glorification of the Mossad. The LA Times reported:

In a carefully worded statement issued this summer to an Israeli paper, an American paper and an Arab TV station, Spielberg, in his only public comment thus far, explained his intentions: “Viewing Israel’s response to Munich through the eyes of the men who were sent to avenge that tragedy adds a human dimension to a horrific episode that we usually think about only in political or military terms. By experiencing how the implacable resolve of these men to succeed in their mission slowly gave way to troubling doubts about what they were doing, I think we can learn something important about the tragic standoff we find ourselves in today.”

Munich is in theatres December 23rd.

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About the author

ck

Founder and Publisher of Jewlicious, David Abitbol lives in Jerusalem with his wife, newborn daughter and toddler son. Blogging as "ck" he's been blocked on twitter by the right and the left, so he's doing something right.

32 Comments

  • well, being one of those who went to see Jarhead and saw the preview, i think it looks fantastic. Tony Kushner is amazing, and i’m pretty confident that Steven Spielberg’s intentions are good. Jarhead was excellent, and Jake Gyllenhaal, I might add, is delectably jewlicious.

  • i meant he is an amazing writer, thank you very much. and he is. so i don’t agree with all of his views, obviously, but does that mean he has no right to them? from what i can tell the film asks some hard questions, but i seriously doubt spielberg would put his name on something so obviously anti-Israel.

  • what is interesting is that both Palestinians and Israelis who were involved in Munich and its aftermath have publicly said the book on which the movie is based is heavily inaccurate.

  • Ofri:

    The fact that Spielberg chose him to write the screenplay says a lot about the movie’s nature. I for one, have no high expectations.

    themiddle:

    This is Hollywood we are talking about, this is not the place for accuracy. Now, if you are looking for PC dreck, that’s *the* place.

  • Spielberg’s statement sends shivers up and down my spine. The film is obviously going to be a poorly-disguised parable about how taking revenge is not the right way to go about things and how the “brutal (whatever) corrodes the Jewish soul”.

    Fuck that.

    Israel had, and has, every right to hunt down and kill every last terrorist who sheds Jewish blood. While I am sure that it is not an easy thing to kill a man, and while I have no idea if I would ever be able to do such a thing, we need to face facts: if we believe in the existence of Israel, and if we believe that Jewish blood should not be held cheap, then we are duty-bound to honor those who have the courage to risk their lives to protect Jews everywhere. There is NO NEED for any Jew to feel ashamed.

    But, hey, Spielberg made a Holocaust movie where the Jews were seconday characters in a drama about the redemption of a Nazi. I can only imagine what this one is going to be like.

    Spielberg should forget about the moral heavy lifiting stick and with what he’s good at Another “Raiders of the Lost Ark” would be good.

  • If this movie indeed focuses primarily with the revenge after Munich, that’s cool. But if this guy is going to focus on a dramatic interpretation of the events in Munich themselves, he is really doing something rediculous. We already have a truly great documentary in “One Day in September.” It was so good, Led Zepplin agreed to allow “The Immigrant Song” on the soundtrack. They have never lent their music to any project other than their own.

  • ephraim – i agree that target killings are necessary and legitimate. but you yourself say you don’t know if you could kill a person. what’s wrong with making a movie that shows that killing people is not black and white, even if they are terrorists? ultimately we may agree that it is the right thing to do, and spielberg may have a different point of view, but either way the killing is not easy. i’m excited to see this movie because i think it looks like a qualitacious piece of cinema, even if it doesn’t reflect my beliefs. I don’t agree with everything Kushner stands for, but his writing is beautiful and intelligent. if this movie sparks a debate, isn’t that a good thing?

  • Y’know, once, just once, I want to see a movie about how an Arab terrorist has second thoughts and decides not to blow up the kids on the bus.

    Just sayin’.

    But, knowing Spielberg, it’s all gonna be about how Violence Is Not The Answer. And since it is going to be about the Jews who are taking revenge, people will, no doubt justifiably, interpret it as a story about how Jewish Justice Meted Out To Arab Terrorists Only Perpetuates The Cycle Of Violence.

    Yes, I probably would find it difficult to kill someone. But the fact that I may not have the courage to do what is right does not mean that it is not right. But that is neither here nor there.

    Spielberg may surprise me and make a film that shows while taking the decision to kill someone is very difficult, it is sometimes both just and justified and that the men involved, while suffering psychologically for what they did, were ultimately right.

    We shall see, I suppose.

    But, hey, this is Spielberg we’re talkin’ about here. I’m not getting my hopes up.

  • “Y’know, once, just once, I want to see a movie about how an Arab terrorist has second thoughts and decides not to blow up the kids on the bus.”

    Then see Paradise Now. Though it is a bit more complicated.

    Laya,

    I stand corrected! Guess LZ decided to loosen their policy.

  • Oh, yeah: I also heard that the book upon which the film is based is inaccurate in the extreme. If this is so, then Spielberg’s decidion to base his film on it is very suspect.

    The other thing that sets off my alarm bells is his choice of Tony Kushner to write the screenplay. Assuming that the FrontPage article was accurate, Kushner is obviously what most people describe as a “self-hating Jew” who is very clearly an extreme anti-Zionist. Spielberg certainly didn’t choose him because of his screen-writing skills, since Kushner apparently has never written a screenplay. Obviously Spielberg felt that he was the right man to give shape to his vision, and the idea that Kushner’s political views will not be reflected in his screenplay is absurd.

    But, hey, Spielberg is a master at making films that reflect the zeigeist. Schindler’s List was a case in point: a film directed primarily at gentiles who wanted a story that would give them vicarious expiation of their (perceived) guilt. In this Spielberg succeeded brilliantly. He created a cathartic and ultimately inoffensive film about one of the most offensive things that has ever happened. It takes a rare talent to do that. It is not for nothing that he is called Spiel-berg.

    So, I expect a piece of well-made, but ultimately middle-brow pabulum.

  • Do the terrorists actually back out, Kelsey? I have heard of the film, but the fact that the Usual Suspects are lionizing it makes me think it is just another attempt to justify that which cannot be justified.

    Your “it’s a bit more complicated than that” is a tad suspicious. What do you mean by that? Is it something along the lines of “it shows them having second thoughts but they go ahead and do it anyway”?

  • Oh, yeah, Ofri:

    ou say he’s Jewlicious, but is Jake Gylenhaal Jewish?

    First I’ve heard of that, if it’s true.

  • Really? I hear it all over the place, I guess because his name leads people to ask about his background. His mother, Naomi Foner, is Jewish, and I’ve heard that he and Maggie Gyllenhaal identify as Jewish. Their father is Swedish. Anyway he’s jewlicious enough for me.

  • Well, he’s just as Jewish as I am, then.

    Cool to know. The name threw me off, I guess.I figured it was Welsh, for some reason.

    The real question, of course, is: is Maggie a hot and Jeliciously babelicious?

    Muffti and/or ck? Can you check it out?

  • Wel, it’s nice we agree on something.

    I absolutely loved Raiders of the Lost Ark and Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

    But Spielberg’s overall sensibility is too cloying and sentimental for my tastes. It is not suited to serious and contoversial themes.

  • Effy, I’d agree that sometimes the writing in his films, especially as of late, are subpar to his direction. Indiana Jones would of kicked ass in Saving Private Ryan. I love that movie, but the script is wholly unrealistic and unhuman. That said, Spielberg is great at adventure stories, so I’m excited for Munich. After all, it’s got Golda Meir, and the Mossad. In an English speaking movie!

    And with Kushner at the table, it might be different. Ya never know. Can’t fail at something you’ve never tried.

    Muffti, you rock my world.

  • i’m sure those Mossad operatives not only didnt have regrets they definitely celebrated each successfull hit with a party. I mean some of those hits were incredibly inventive.Ehud Barak had to dress in drag to perform one of them. And there was a booby trapped telephone in another.

  • Hey, i think that while Spielberg can attempt to play on your sentimental nerves a tad, i loved what he did with war of the worlds, i doubt any other director would have pulled it off. I really want to see Munich, and his interpretation of it, but living where i live (Nairobi) i probably shouldn’t hold my breath. If it does actually get here, it will come much later. Anyway i would appreciate it if anyone who gets to see it first can fill me in.

  • Oh god not another one of those movies, why should I always be reminded that the Jews suffered at one point in history?

  • Israelis are apparently disturbed re: this movie. Mosad agents looking to soft. Wonder why Spielberg didn’t consult them. He didn’t want a hardline picture ? thought it would turn off the Christians ? What a shame.

  • i hope this isnt another “lets feel sorry for the jews” movie and lets make the arabians look like the bad guys. gosh, how many times is hollywood gonna do that.

  • “zionists are simply war criminals”

    Don’t you worry your little anti-semitic head “David.” Spielberg says it’s about America. Munich will be a convergence of the sentiments of self-hating jews and self-hating americans. I bet you’ll love it, it’s a Tony Kushner production.

  • If those of us who are unapolegitic supporters of Israel don’t like the film, we can hijack it simply by going to theaters and behaving like the “Rocky Horror Picture Show” audience. Merely learn the big moments of the film, and then use audience-participation to play with those.

    For example, I have heard a review which claims that in one scene a bomb rigged to a phone accidentally kills the “innocent” daughter of a terrorist. If the phone rings before it explodes, the audience could imitate Lily Tomlin’s “Ernestine” the operator and yell out “One ringey-dingey, two ringey-dingey”…

    For another example, if any of the terrorists happen to be killed with knife, the audience could yell “slice out his eyes first!”

    And whenever an innocent Muslim is killed by mistake, the audience could yell out “OOPSEY!”

    Use your imagination. Even if this film is not intended to be ours, we can MAKE it ours with this technique.

  • Another good idea would be for proud Jews to make sure to fill the seats in the front row of the theater.

    That way, they can stand up in front and dance the hora during scenes when Spielberg intends for the Jews “feel shame” and thus signal that we refuse to feel shame for Jews who stand up for our rights.

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