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And he'd better hurry, cause the release date is set for Dec. 23, 2005!

from darkhorizons.com:

Universal Pictures is planning a December 23 launch for Steven Spielberg's film about the 1972 Munich Olympics says Reuters.

The untitled project, a co-production between Universal and DreamWorks, had been set to go before the cameras last year. Preproduction had begun in Europe and casting was under way when Spielberg decided to have "Angels in America" playwright Tony Kushner do a rewrite on the project.

With the project postponed, Spielberg moved quickly to begin filming his adaptation of H.G. Wells' "War of the Worlds." Spielberg now plans to begin filming the Munich project in the summer.

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Actor says Spielberg spy thriller good for Israel

An Israeli actress cast in Steven Spielberg's controversial new film about her country's counter-terrorism tactics said on Monday the Hollywood director intended to improve the image of the Jewish state. Gila Almagor, the grande dame of Israeli drama, confirmed reports that the thriller is based on "Vengeance," a book about the Mossad intelligence service's assassination of Palestinian guerrilla chiefs in the 1970s that has been widely discredited. That mission was mounted to avenge 11 Israeli athletes seized by Palestinian gunmen at the 1972 Munich Olympics and killed during a botched rescue effort. Several Mossad veterans have come out of the cold to question Spielberg's research.

Reuters, July 11

- - -

Bizarre. It was only today, through this article, that I discovered this film was apparently being based on a book by George Jonas, one of my favorite Canadian pundits. I wonder if he's responded to any of the criticisms of his book anywhere.

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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I guess this means in Germany (AKA Deutchland) this will be titled M

"A director must live with the fact that his work will be called to judgment by someone who has never seen a film of Murnau's." - François Truffaut

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I still don't see how it is humanly possible to start working on a film during June and have it in theaters by December of the same year. Then again, War of the Worlds (which I'm guessing is much, MUCH more effects-heavy than this film will be) was completed in a mere 10 months. Spielberg has been working quite fast lately.

Actually, this isn't an entirely new thing for him. In 2002, he released two films in the same year, Minority Report and Catch Me If You Can (and once again, one of them was effects-heavy and the other was not). Maybe the Bearded One wants to try to go out with a bang; he must be nearly 60 years old, right?

-"I... drink... your... milkshake! I drink it up!"

Daniel Plainview, There Will Be Blood

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Actually, this isn't an entirely new thing for him. In 2002, he released two films in the same year, Minority Report and Catch Me If You Can (and once again, one of them was effects-heavy and the other was not). Maybe the Bearded One wants to try to go out with a bang; he must be nearly 60 years old, right?

What about when he released Jurassic Park and Schindler's List six months apart in 1993. Or in 1996 when he released The Lost World and Amistad?

So, no. It's nothing new for him. In fact, it also fits better with the 1993 and 1996 pattern because one was a summer blockbuster (JP, The Lost World, War of the Worlds) and the other was more of a "serious" Oscar-type film (Schindler's List, Amistad and the upcoming Munich).

"A director must live with the fact that his work will be called to judgment by someone who has never seen a film of Murnau's." - François Truffaut

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Don't forget Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade and Always, both released in 1989. Spielberg's reputation as a fast worker has been around for a while, now.

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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Hmm, that's quite interesting. Perhaps it's easier for him to direct multiple films at once because of his reputation.

I wonder how long it'll take him to make that Abraham Lincoln biopic of his? At this rate, it could be out by fall 06'.

-"I... drink... your... milkshake! I drink it up!"

Daniel Plainview, There Will Be Blood

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The teaser poster for Munich is out, over at JoBlo.com. I like it. Contemplative, sombre, and should raise interest. As the most unabashed Spielberg-apologist on the board, I cannot wait to see this.

"A director must live with the fact that his work will be called to judgment by someone who has never seen a film of Murnau's." - François Truffaut

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The teaser poster for Munich is out, over at JoBlo.com. I like it. Contemplative, sombre, and should raise interest. As the most unabashed Spielberg-apologist on the board, I cannot wait to see this.

Me too. Looks like it'll be a sturdy drama for the Oscar-season.

I'm becoming more of a Spielberg apologist too, of late. I discovered both Jaws and Minority Report over the summer, and I thought that both were awesome. Minority Report is up among some of my all-time favorites, and Jaws was just plain fun.

BTW, have we ever had a Jaws thread? If not, I think we ought to. biggrin.gif

-"I... drink... your... milkshake! I drink it up!"

Daniel Plainview, There Will Be Blood

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Jeffrey Wells makes an interesting comment over at his blog, in response to Dave Poland's initial reaction to Munich:

[Poland] states toward the end of the piece that "the theme of [Munich] is the dehumanizing nature of violence over time. No matter how well founded -- in your mind or in reality -- the 'right' to kill is, in order to maintain focus on the effort, one must dehumanize both their target and themselves." Uhm...okay. But uhm...may I say something? Has there ever been an intelligent film about protagonists involved in killing people that doesn't convey the idea, in one fashion or another, that violence is dehumanizing all around? Including (but certainly not limited to) Peter Weir's Witness, Fred Zinneman's High Noon, Sam Peckinpah's The Wild Bunch, Michael Mann's Collateral and about 20 or 30 other films I could mention off the top of my head?

If the theme of Spielberg's film is just that, then I think the "best picture" coronation oughta stop right now. But I have no idea, not having seen the film (yet).

"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

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Has anyone heard anything about press screenings, a release date, a junket, TV spots, new trailers, or anything that might give us a clue as to what is going on here? The "we'll-have-it-out-by-Christmas" scenario is rapidly becoming unfeasible. And even if they did release the film at this point, would the public even be aware of it enough for it to pull big ticket sale numbers?

-"I... drink... your... milkshake! I drink it up!"

Daniel Plainview, There Will Be Blood

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Has anyone heard anything about press screenings, a release date, a junket, TV spots, new trailers, or anything that might give us a clue as to what is going on here? The "we'll-have-it-out-by-Christmas" scenario is rapidly becoming unfeasible. And even if they did release the film at this point, would the public even be aware of it enough for it to pull big ticket sale numbers?

That cover story in Time is getting a little attention. smile.gif

"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

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No matter how well founded -- in your mind or in reality -- the 'right' to kill is, in order to maintain focus on the effort, one must dehumanize both their target and themselves.

I recently read Ender's Game (yeah, I'm a Johnny-come-lately), and wasn't a core theme of that book the idea in order to effectively defeat (kill) an opponent you must come to understand them, even care about them?

I think that there is room for both concepts at the table.

Also, given the trend, it will be interesting to see if the Ender's movie will still embrace that idea.

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I can understand the Israeli response. But I think it should be kept in mind that it's an American movie. I expect Spielberg is speaking to Americans about where we are now rather than what Israeli's did years ago. The line from the trailer about "if we lose being righteous, what are we" sounds a lot like McCain in the torture debate.

On Today this morning, they noted that the Time piece was the only interview on the film that Spielberg has done. It may not be a case of looking for big opening weekend numbers. They are getting it out for Oscar considerations. A few nominations would be where the success of the movie will come from (that includes $ucce$$.)

A foreign movie can't be stupid.

-from the film
Armin

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Darrel Manson wrote:

: I can understand the Israeli response. But I think it should be kept in mind that it's an

: American movie.

Which, FWIW, if the rumours are true, is at least partly based on a book by a conservative Canadian columnist of Hungarian extraction. But that's only if the rumours are true.

Incidentally, I heard there may be a screening of this film in Vancouver as early as Tuesday.

Edited by Peter T Chattaway

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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Now The New York Post has published a commentary that labels Spielberg as anti-Semitic.

Maybe he and Gibson should start a support group.

Edited by Jeffrey Overstreet

P.S.  I COULD BE WRONG.

 

Takin' 'er easy for all you sinners at lookingcloser.org. Also abiding at Facebook and Twitter.

 

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Wow! (I say that without having read more than a few paragraphs, since I am not a NYP subscriber.)

I saw this film last night, and since I still have 100-ish pages left to read in Vengeance, I am still mulling over how to review this one. I do think it's fair to say that Spielberg's liberal tendencies come through more than Jonas's conservative tendencies, though.

For one thing, he accentuates the collateral damage pretty much all the way through, when in fact (if memory serves) the earliest victims were killed rather discretely -- as I recall, from Jonas's book, the first explosion did NOT send debris out a window, and a subsequent explosion did NOT disturb the neighbouring rooms or the people in them, beyond the noise of course. (Don't quote me on that until I've re-read the relevant portions of the book, though.) Spielberg also leaves out those sections of the book where "Ephraim" (the Geoffrey Rush character) and others emphatically state that there is to be NO collateral damage whatsoever; as far as Ephraim is concerned, if it looks like a bystander might be hurt, then Avner (Eric Bana) and the others are to call off the hit right away. Granted, there WERE problems and various forms of collateral damage later on, but it might have been better if Spielberg had allowed us to experience the early "successes" of the mission AS successes, before moving on to the more problematic aspects.

One fascinating aspect of this film, and the whole debate around it, is that some people are accusing it of being "anti-Semitic" when in fact, as far as the film is concerned, it is only the Jews who wrestle with questions of conscience and righteousness when considering extreme actions such as assassinating people in their homes. The few Arab terrorists we meet NEVER seem to wrestle with the rightness of their cause (nor do they seem to be shaken by the actions of the Israelis, contrary to what Jonas reports). The Jews, on the other hand, are profoundly aware that they are supposed to be better than other people, and they are worried that they have lost this quality. That should reflect rather well on them, shouldn't it?

Ah, but what about Israel. What is the place of Israel in all this. I don't think the film really knows. Israel is necessary because the Jews need a home, and Germany came thisclose to wiping out so many of them; and lo and behold, the Munich incident took place in Germany, too. But a few of the Arab characters are given opportunities to explain that they need a home, too. And then there is the interesting question of the relationship between procreation and one's political obligations to the Jewish people; note the scene where Avner talks to his mother, and note the rather daring cross-cutting during one sex scene (a scene that prompted me to tell the friend with whom I saw the film, "Close your eyes and think of Israel").

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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Peter, would you agree with David Brooks, that Spielberg is suggesting far too simple a solution: that merely surrendering tactics of violence will advance peace, instead of dealing with the fantatics in discerning and efficiently violent ways? Brooks's response was that if Spielberg's vision were applied to the real-world problems, the fanatics would bulldoze everyone in their path, and that the only way to stop them is with violence.

P.S.  I COULD BE WRONG.

 

Takin' 'er easy for all you sinners at lookingcloser.org. Also abiding at Facebook and Twitter.

 

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That might be a fair reading of the film, yeah. Of course, the real moral point of the film comes through in the last act, which is the part of the book I haven't read yet, so I'm reluctant to comment on what is uniquely Spielbergian there.

I do note, though, in response to your comment about "dealing with the fantatics in discerning and efficiently violent ways", that in one of his endnotes, Jonas observes that the commando raid on Beirut in the early 1970s (depicted in the film) was probably a lot more successful than the full-on invasion of Lebanon that took place in the early 1980s would turn out to be. (Jonas's book came out in 1984.)

Then again, the raid on Beirut took place something like two years before Beirut was ruined by civil war -- it was still known as the Paris of the Middle East, at that time -- so circumstances on the ground had changed there.

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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So now they're saying that Spielberg is an anti-semite? Didn't he himself complain that Mel Gibson was an anti-semite? Geez, it seems like one cannot treat Judaism cinematically anymore in ANY fashion without being accused of this. It's becoming a very tired, trite argument, in my opinion.

-"I... drink... your... milkshake! I drink it up!"

Daniel Plainview, There Will Be Blood

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I finished reading Vengeance (written in 1984, remember) in the taxi on my way to the hotel here in Los Angeles this morning. I quote the last three paragraphs from the epilogue:

Beyond questions of right and wrong, a final point of interest may be the utility of counter-terrorism. In the end, did Avner's mission succeed or fail? It is often suggested that counter-terror solves nothing; it exacerbates rather than reduces underlying tensions; it increases rather than decreases terrorist incidents, and so on. These objections may well be true. Certainly almost a decade after Munich, during the period between August 1980 and November 1981, at least twenty acts of terrorism had been recorded by Arafat's Al Fatah, Abu Nidal's Black June, Saiqua, George Habash's Popular Front, and the latest "15th of May Movement for the Liberation of Palestine," resulting in thirty-six dead and hundreds wounded in Paris, Beirut, Nairobi, Cairo, Buenos Aires, Istanbul, Vienna, Athens, Antwerp and Rome. Yet it seems to me that the utility of counter-terrorism cannot be decided on the basis of what it solves or fails to solve. A clash of arms never "solves" anything, short of a decisive military engagement like Waterloo, and even that may only postpone matters for a generation or two.

The tragic fact is that the maps of the world are drawn in blood. No borders have ever been settled except through victory or exhaustion, unless peace has been imposed on the warring parties by a superior force from outside. While the spirit of a struggle is alive, nations have no choice but to fight it every day, regardless of whether a day's battle "solves" anything or not, because the only other choice is giving up and going under. It is hypocritical of older nations, which have drawn their own maps on the globe with the blood of their forefathers, to apply to younger countries standards of restraint -- either of morals or of utility -- which, had they been applied to themselves in the past, would have prevented their emergence or survival in the first place.

Saying this could be mistaken for the suggestion that there are no standards of restraint in warfare, but it is not the same thing at all.
One can, in terms of moral justification, distinguish between counter-terrorism and terrorism in the same way one distinguishes between acts of war and war crimes.
There are standards; terrorism is on the wrong side of them; counter-terrorism is not.
It is possible to say that the Palestinian cause is as honorable as the Israeli cause; it is not possible to say that terror is as honorable as resisting terror.
Ultimately both the morality and the usefulness of resisting terror are contained in the uselessness and and immorality of not resisting it.

So says George Jonas, a Canadian conservative. Steven Spielberg, an American liberal, would appear to disagree. More on that later -- but I can definitely say that Spielberg is unusually faithful to the basic chronology of Jonas's book, even if he nuances things a little differently here and there.

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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