[Marxism] "Munich" - Morning Star review

Paddy Apling e.c.apling at btinternet.com
Fri Jan 27 02:34:28 MST 2006

Below is the review of "Spielberg's "Munich" in today's Mornign Star:

Munich (15)
(Friday 27 January 2006)
Directed by Stephen Spielberg
  JEFF SAWTELL watches as Stephen Spielberg throws a spanner in the 
works and gives us his view of the events in Israel in 1972.

Not since Schindler's List has Stephen Spielberg provoked such 
controversy. You may remember that, following his Holocaust tale, he 
included an epilogue that was effectively a recruiting film for Israel.

With his new film Munich, about Israel's attempt to assassinate the 
Palestinians responsible for organising the attack on their athletes 
at the 1972 Olympics, Spielberg has managed to upset people in both camps.

Based on George Jonas's controversial book Vengeance as interpreted 
by scriptwriters Tony Kushner and Eric Roth, it's supposed to be an 
account according to the former Mossad agent Yuval Aviv.

Naturally, the zionists accuse Spielberg of being anti-Israel, 
despite the fact that critics in the other camp criticise him for 
failing to illustrate the extent of the Palestinian suffering.

Spielberg counters this by insisting that Schindler proved that he 
wasn't anti-Israel and that he's simply asking questions about the 
immorality of illegally executing Israel's enemies.

Understandably, since all of the major characters are Jewish, critics 
have pointed out that the Palestinian characters are, with one 
exception, largely the terrorist image of Israeli propaganda.

Quite simply, if you didn't know anything about the events, you might 
just see it as an overlong action film about Israeli terrorists 
terrorising Arab terrorists before some of the former see the error 
of their ways.

For those who haven't a clue what happened in 1972, the film opens 
with a review of events as seen by the Western media - a group 
sneaking over the fence and taking 11 hostages.

They are members of Black September, a faction of the Fedayeen who 
were prepared to sacrifice themselves to draw international attention 
to Israel's criminal occupation of Palestine.

After killing two and taking nine others hostage, they negotiated the 
release of some 234 Palestinian prisoners before the German 
authorities botched an attempt to rescue them in a chaotic shoot-out.

The hostages were killed, along with five of the kidnappers and one 
policeman. Three hostages were caught and later released in another 
hostage-swap deal, so prompting Golda Meir to introduce Operation 
Wrath of God.

Apparently, they redrafted Avia aka Avner (Eric Bana) from 
intelligence into the new unit - not to be seen as Mossad - so that 
they could masquerade as mavericks employing anybody useful to their cause.

Forced to leave behind his pregnant wife, he joins up with a driver 
(Daniel Craig), an explosives expert (Mathieu Kassovitch), a document 
forger (Hanns Zischler) and a clean-up guy (Ciaran Hinds).

Their mission takes them on the scenic route of some European cities 
and Beirut, each time making a mess of the place and the people 
before the carnage begins to take its toll on their consciousness.

Aided and abetted by a mysterious group of "unaligned" suppliers, 
they demonstrate that, to be effective, they have to work separately 
and in co-operation with the CIA and the KGB.

After two hours of slaughter, Avner sums up the growing doubts that 
affect some of the group by asking: "Who exactly are we killing? Can 
it be justified? Will it stop the terror?"

Sadly, since you never see the conditions of the Palestinian camps - 
the exiled seem to live in luxury - the audience is directed to 
identify with the cause before condemning it.

Naturally, as seen during many so-called anti-war films, ignorant 
audiences might do exactly the opposite of what film-makers intended 
and enjoy the spectacle irrespective of the implied immorality.

There are no examples of the "accidental" killings of innocents. And 
what are we to make of the closing shot of the Twin Towers - surely 
not an attempt to link Black September with September 11?


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