The Munich Olympics in 1972 was the scene of the 'Munich massacre'. This was the hostage situation and subsequent murder of 11 members of the Israeli Olympic team by Palestinian terrorists. Historical events such as this often become subjects of books and films for years to come. I'm a sucker for a true story of any sort and when I found 3 films based on accounts of this event I settled down for a marathon. I must admit, frankly I'm a bit conflicted when being entertained by tragedy, should I feel guilty, is this exploitative? I can only think that knowing of these events can give us greater hope for the future. In the meantime let's see if these nuggets can keep our sadistic collective conscience entertained.
One day in September (1999 Kevin Macdonald).
September is a miserable sounding month isn't it? Back to school, shitty weather and also worth a mention, terrorism. This documentary from director of The Last King of Scotland and Touching the Void outlines everything that happened during that time from the build up to it's tragic ending. Mixing insightful interviews (including one with the only remaining terrorist, still in hiding) some reconstructions and lots of news footage from the time. The doc does a good job of educating while also being appropriately dramatic and entertaining. Still, I would say if you want a good doc for entertainments sake then go elsewhere, this is only interesting if you're interested. Which you should be.
also see: Waco: The rules of engagement, Jonestown, He's just not that into you.
The Sword of Gideon.
Never heard of this one but what I got was a decent 2 hours and 52 minutes of globetrotting espionage thriller, Tony Montana's bezzy mate teaming up with Austin Powers bezzy mate in a late 70's movie based on a book called 'Vengeance'. This story takes place after the Munich massacre (which is established briefly as the opening sequence) and is the story of the Israeli soldier who was hired secretly by the government at the time, to wreak vengeance on the purpetrators of the Munich massacre. The movie feels like a lesser accomplished 'Ronin' but turns into some west side story romance whinge in the middle redeeming itself by the end. Eventually the mission goes soft when a lady spy shags and kills one of the team, our main man has a baby and they fail to kill their final target. It certainly feels like the story was printed over the truth here and some of the scenes are so plot driven that it feels heavy handed. This doesn't spoil the film but it does leave it feeling fairly unremarkable.
Also see: Ronin, Dr.No, The Bourne Identity, The Italian Job, Austin Powers:The spy who shagged me
Spielberg's 3 hour retelling was daunting at first but after watching the first 20 minutes I found it to be completely unwatchable. It's essentially a remake of Sword of Gideon (well, it's based on the same book) but with better actors, bigger budget and a pedestrian middle of the road production from Spielberg whom obviously had an agenda in making this film. Not that I imagine it's no good or full of lies but my cynicism eventually meant I really couldn't face it. He can be a bit safe and boring old Steven, though I imagine he still thinks he's radical and some sort of a political activist. I think I’ll leave this one for someone else to bother with, or not.