136252, I don't know about some of this guy's comments...|
Posted by Frank Longo, Sun Jan-01-06 10:08 PM
>Maybe it has something to do with Mr. Spielberg's curious use
>of "Jewish" tropes. Again and again in "Munich," the Israelis
>are seen counting the cost of each kill, down to the last
>dollar: $352,000 for an assassination in Rome; $200,000 for a
>bombing in Paris. "Killing Palestinians isn't exactly cheap,"
>remarks one of the members of the Israeli team. A Frenchman in
>the business of retailing the whereabouts of wanted men
>praises Israeli squad leader Avner Kauffman (Eric Bana)
>because he pays "better than anyone." A Mossad officer warns
>Kauffman not to overspend his budget. "I want receipts," he
^^^ BIG STRETCH. "One character didn't leave a good tip in one scene."
>Maybe it has something to do with the historical liberties Mr.
>Spielberg takes in telling the story. "Vengeance," the George
>Jonas book upon which the film is largely based, is widely
>considered to be a fabrication. The book is based on a source
>named Yuval Aviv, who claimed to be the model for Avner but
>was, according to Israeli sources, never in the Mossad and had
>no experience in intelligence beyond working as a screener for
>El Al, the Israeli airline.
Well, the movie (and I believe the book) cover this.
>Maybe it has something to do with Mr. Spielberg's depiction of
>the Palestinian targets. The Israeli team's first quarry is an
>elderly, evidently kindly man whom the audience first
>encounters reading from his Italian translation of
>Scheherazade. Target Two is a well-spoken diplomat and doting
>father. Target Three offers Avner a cigarette from across a
>balcony; Avner repays the gesture by having him blown to bits
>in his bed. Another target gives a moving speech about his
>longing for his homeland and the agony of 24 years of
>dispossession. There is nothing wrong with depicting
>Palestinians -- even those involved in terrorism -- as fully
>rounded human beings. Yet not one of these characters is seen
>performing the deeds for which they have been targeted, unlike
>the Israelis in the film, who perform dirty deeds by the
Um, that's the point. We see the Palestinians committing awful atrocities at the beginning of the film, and the whole moral ambiguity of whether or not these men are truly the guilty parties is a key point. How involved were they? How reliable were Israel's sources? Were they involved with Munich, or is there evidence of them being involved in prior atrocities and they were simply added to the list? I don't think it's anti-Israel to portray Palestinians, even ones attached to terror, doing normal things. Plus, some of the Palestinians fire back at them, so there's some level of guilt for something.
>Maybe it has something to do with the strawman arguments the
>Israelis offer for exacting their revenge. "The only blood
>that matters to me is Jewish blood," says Steve (Daniel
>Craig), the most macho of the Israeli hit men. Steve is a
>South African Jew, blonde and blue-eyed, and somehow it's no
>surprise that this Jewish Aryan is made to utter this most
>racist of views. Avner's mother offers her son an
>ends-justify-the-means rationalization for his killings:
>"Whatever it takes," she says, "we have a place on Earth at
>last." And then there is Prime Minister Golda Meir (Lynn
>Cohen), who justifies the assassination policy by saying,
>"forget peace for now, we have to be strong." Never mind that
>in 1972 neither the Arab states nor the PLO were prepared to
>live in peace with Israel on any terms. Never mind, too, that
>peace and strength are not incompatible options.
What? The second-to-last sentence there should explain the level of the tension in that area, and why people would be driven to views like this...
>Maybe it has something to do with the false dichotomy the film
>establishes between Jewish ideals and Israeli actions. "Every
>civilization finds it necessary to negotiate compromises with
>its own values," pronounces the fictional Mrs. Meir. Yet the
>Torah and Talmud are replete with descriptions of the
>justified smiting of one enemy or another. (Hanukkah, for
>instance, commemorates the Maccabean victory over the Seleucid
>empire.) It is Christianity, not Judaism, that counsels
>turning the other cheek.
But it's not like Judaism says, "Hey! Murdering is cool!" Nowhere does the Torah say, "You should go murder people who are bad." I think taking that ONE sentence is a weeee bit of a stretch.
>Maybe it has something to do with Mr. Spielberg's decision to
>depict the actual slaughter of the Israeli athletes (bizarrely
>interwoven with an especially vulgar sex scene) at the end of
>the film rather than at the beginning. The effect is to jumble
>cause and consequence; to make the massacre seem like a
>response to Israeli atrocities; to turn Munich into just
>another stage in the proverbial cycle of violence, or what Mr.
>Spielberg calls a "response to a response." Mr. Spielberg has
>said he made this film as a "tribute" to the fallen athletes.
>What he has mainly accomplished is to trivialize their
But it is a cycle, and the Palestinians DID think they were doing the right thing, as odd and fucked up as that sounds. That's the whole point of the film, the cycle of violence. I don't think it necessarily BLAMES the Israelis for this by having it spliced into a sex scene at the end of the film.
>"If you start with an ax to grind," Mr. Kushner recently told
>the Cleveland Plain-Dealer, "then you write a bad play or
>movie." To watch "Munich" is to recognize the truth of that
Don't get me wrong, especially the end seems critical of Israel's actions. But I don't think by criticizing Israel, it is condoning Palestine at all. I thought of the end of the film as more along the lines of him wanting to escape this circle of violence so that he may live in peace with his wife and child. Israel and Palestine would both his family and well-being in jeopardy, when considering what position he held for Israel.
I don't know...it's a dense work. But I don't necessarily think it's anti-Israel, just critical of the seeming circle of violence that occurs in the area. I don't even necessarily disagree with some of this man's points. I just think he took this idea and ran a bit too far with it in some areas.