Friday, November 16, 2007

Munich the Movie: Not the Full Story

I have issues with Steven Spielberg's 2005 film Munich. But I'm not quite sure why. It isn't that the movie is irrationally pro-Israel. On the contrary, the picture it paints of the violence condoned by the Israeli government is appalling. But at the same time, I'm loath to recommend it at as a balanced look at the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

I think my feelings are due to the lack of Palestinian voice. The perspective on Israel may not be extremely positive in the film, but it still manages to be an Israeli perspective. An Israeli voice.

The movie deals with the affect of violence on the Israelis who partake in it. How it eats away their humanity, and destroys who they are. But the violence itself is rationalized (after all, these are terrorists). It isn't an issue of whether the Palestinians deserve to die; it's an issue of whether the cost of killing them is too high on the Israelis who have to do the dirty work. The full humanity of their struggle is well portrayed. But where is the corresponding humanity of the enemy? Of the Palestinians? I would argue that it's not truly present.

Of course, there are limits to what can be conveyed in a single film. The purpose of this movie was never to tell the Palestinian side of the story. It was to show a different element of the Israeli side. And it does that. Well. I just can't help feeling that it doesn't say enough. That it stops too far short of the mark.

So if you want the full story, don't look to Spielberg to help you. But if you're on a continuing journey of discovery, maybe this is a valid stop along the way.

However, be warned: Munich has issues beyond the plotline. If you plan to see the film, be prepared for extreme violence and very disturbing content.

1 comment:

Mideast Magnus said...

blog away, girl! keep writing - you have good things to say, and do such a good job of expressing yourself! :-)