Sunday, July 10, 2005

New Spielberg project tackles terrorism

First he tackled the Holocaust, courting controversy but then silencing many of his critics with a masterpiece of cinema in the form of Schindler's List.

Now director Steven Spielberg is taking on another Jewish issue, with a film on the aftermath of the massacre of 11 Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics.
Production has already started on the film - still untitled - which chronicles a bloody series of assassinations carried out by Israeli secret agents against the Palestinian terrorists responsible for the 1972 killings.

The incident is one of the most controversial issues in modern Israeli and Jewish history. The series of assassinations ended in scandal when it was revealed that Mossad agents had murdered an innocent Moroccan waiter in Norway after a case of mistaken identity.
Spielberg's project has been surrounded in secrecy, mindful of the dangerous territory the film will touch on and nervous of being seen either to condone or condemn the Israeli action. In a carefully worded statement released by his studio last week, Spielberg said the film would look at '...a defining moment in the modern history of the Middle East'.
He said he would seek to humanise the bloody events. '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,' he said.

The film will begin with the terrorist attacks. Though German police persuaded the Palestinian terrorists out of the Olympic village, a shoot-out at an airport resulted in the death of all 11 athletes, one policeman and five of the eight terrorists. The main plot of the film then follows the vengeful Mossad teams as they track down members of Black September and eliminate them, one by one. But as the assassinations continue, some of the characters develop doubts about their mission and the moral quagmire of revenge in which they have become trapped.