Sunday, January 22, 2006

More on "Munich"

While the movie Munich continues to draw the ire from Arab-haters who deem the movie anti-Israeli, presumably because the Palestinian terrorists depicted don't have horns sprouting from their heads, co-screenwriter Tony Kushner has finally answered some of the film's critics in The Los Angeles Times:

"Why does the movie show Mossad agents having doubts and regrets about killing terrorists when apparently they never have doubts and regrets? Why did you make that up?

"I've never killed anyone, but my instincts as a person and a playwright -- and the best books I've read about soldiers or cops or people whose jobs bring them into violent physical conflict -- suggest that people in general don't kill without feeling torn up about it. Violence exacts a psychic toll, unless you're a sociopath, and who wants to watch a movie about sociopaths?

"Munich dramatizes the toll violence takes. This bothers a few people at both ends of the political spectrum. I understand why those who think Israeli agents are villainous, unfeeling killing machines disparage our conscience-ridden characters. I'm confused by those who think that a depiction of the agents as conscienceless would make them more impressive and heroic.

Finally, Kushner addresses those who have confused the movie's concerns with those of Kushner, an American Jew who has been outspoken in his belief that Israelis and Palestinians should co-exist iseparatete states:

"Munich is not me or my politics masquerading as a movie. It's been shaped with remarkable generosity by Steven Spielberg into a historical fiction informed by several perspectives, including mine. We have prescribed nothing more specific for understanding the Mideast conflict, and the dilemma terrorism poses to civilization, than that you allow your unshakable convictions a little breathing room.

"I think it's the refusal of the film to reduce the Mideast controversy, and the problematics of terrorism and counterterrorism, to sound bites and spin that has brought forth charges of 'moral equivalence' from people whose politics are best served by simple morality tales."

If this is the sort of thing that interests you, the entire piece is worth reading here. You might not like Kushner's politics (I can't say that I do, for instance), but he makes the cogent point that Munich isn't about his politics.


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