Last night the Pretty Girl and I went and saw Spielberg's 'Munich' after enjoying a great meal with friends at the Claim Jumper. Arguably the worst film to go see after having such a good time. I'm glad I saw it though for it was one of the most thought provoking movie I've seen in a long time.
'Munich' fictionalizes a Mossad group that hunts and assassinates planners of the Black September terrorist organization. Years ago I watched 'One Day in September' which chronicles the events of the Palestinian terrorist group taking Israeli athletes and coaches hostage during the 72 Olympic games. The documentary was extremely powerful and critical of the German authorities incompetence at keeping the hostages alive. The director seems to point blame at the stubbornness of Berlin's sovereignty which kept any other national law enforcement agency out of the picture. However equipped the Germans may or may not have been during the siege is relevant; however it is shadowed in how it escalated violence in the Middle East region and it changed politics not only for the Olympics, but the world in general. Many believe the hijacking of the Lufthansa, which lead to the release of the three surviving Black September members involved in the Munich standoff, was set up by the Germans to wash their hands clean of the event and to help keep more terror attacks out of their country.
The documentary also strengthened my belief that terrorists always win. Now before you call me some Palestinian sympathizer just try and hear me out. At the end of 'One Day In September' one of the remaining survivors from Black September spoke about how proud he was of the work he did in Munich. He and his group wanted to bring attention to their plight and they accomplished just that. By giving the terrorists the media coverage is the first thing they ask for and the one thing they always achieve. The problem is that the logic dictates to keep the world fixated these terrorists keep upping the ante, hence 9/11.
Spielberg's film is his best work in years. I find his body of work truly amazing. Here's a man who can keep America entertained with popcorn fare such as 'Jurassic Park', 'Indiana Jones', and 'E.T.' and yet provide bits of thought provoking films scattered through his list of no brainer entertainment. Some work ('Schindler's List', 'Empire of the Sun') while others simply fail to engage the audience ('Amistad').
Munich; however, provokes thought and discussion about a critical conflict that may be the powder keg of our lifetime. While Spielberg does not provide easy answers to the idea of the morality and consequences of retaliation they are themes worth exploring. The violence in the film is often graphic and brutal not because of the imagery, but by how the audience can see the unintended effects of retaliatory activity. The performances and cinematography are some of the best. Never is a scene sensationalized nor is the use of color or lighting overdramatic. It works best in it's simplicity.
I've read a few articles on both sides of the conflict denouncing this film. For some reason these people believe all discussion around this subject should be silenced. It's amazing that people on both sides can critique the movie's themes and/or agenda. Man hears what he wants to hear I guess.
I have no answer for peace in that region, nor does Spielberg. Sometimes I find myself arrogant enough to even think I might. What can any comfortable American really understand about the plight of the Israeli and Palestinian people? I used to believe naively that Israel should give the Palestinians their own state and that should keep the peace. I came to the conclusion later that the Palestinian leadership is not interested in coexistence. They could give a shit less about a nation. They just want to see the Israelis off the map. They had their chance for a nation and they didn't take it. As long as the Arab nations openly supports or turns a blind eye to the PLO and Hamas peace will never reign. If America and Britain do not choose to demand that Israel take a more reasoned approach to their homicidal policies then the suffering of their people will exist forever.
"Whoever stands by a just cause cannot possibly be called a terrorist." - Yasser Arafat