Wednesday, March 29, 2006


I had no expectations for this movie, as I entered the theater last night. I hadn't heard anything about the movie, other than that it was good and I should see it. I hadn't seen any previews, and I had no idea who the actors or the director were. I have to say that I was impressed, the more so because the movie sparked tons and tons of conversation after seeing it with my brother and some friends. Munich was the kind of movie that takes stamina. But it's nonetheless masterfully enthralling and disturbing and thought-provoking on many levels. If you're patient and willing to immerse yourself in all the details and the plodding depths of thought and story and relationship and heart, then this is definitely the movie for you.

The fight in Israel/Palestine, has been going on for quite some time now. And the question is never answered, who has the right to be there? Same with the most important question, can they ever achieve peace? One act of violence in Munich escalates into an international viral infection of hatred and divisiveness. Good men and women go crazy as they take up arms against their enemies, and they feel their souls slipping away from them, as the crisis goes on and there seems to be no end. They kill one leader, only for five more worse ones to take his place. And all the while, they learn that these people are the same as them, longing for their home and fighting for their families. There are no answers and there is no resolution. There is only confusion in this mass struggle. There is only the heart of each man and woman, beating and pumping, as they fight and as they die, trying to live their lives as well as they can, yet unable to stop the violence and hatred even within themselves. Depressing? I guess, a bit. But there was love in there as well. The love of family, of husband and wife and mother and daughter and father and son. Despite the global perspective telling us that all people are equally important, everyone looks to their own family first. Is this bad? Is it wrong?

I myself have never connected with a "people" like Jews connect with their people and Arabs connect with theirs. I'm white: a little Irish, a little Slovenian, a bit Swedish, french and German, and maybe a few other things. But I don't have a people. I'm American, but I don't think of Americans as my people. I don't feel like they're an extension of my family. For me this indepth look at peoples is an eye-opener, because it touches on something I don't understand, and perhaps many other white American folks don't either. A people tied to the land is something I don't understand. And individuals tied to a people is something I do not comprehend. I thought we were all just people. I can see how we all have certain differences in culture and my culture more closely matches that of other white americans, but I don't feel tied to them in any way. African Americans feel connected with their slave ancestors, as well as their tribal African ones. But I feel nothing for my European immigrant ancestors, and even less for white slave owners, with whom I possibly share no ancestry at all. And that's not to say that my family did not cause suffering or that they did not suffer. But they are not me. I do not feel tied to them. I feel tied to my father and mother and my broher and sister and a little less to my grandparents and aunts and uncles and cousins. But beyond that, it is all cultural comfort and no family connection. I do not see other whites and immediately assume we have some sort of connection (much the opposite).

I don't know why I'm going on about this, but the movie reveals something that is, I believe, foreign to the culture to which I relate.


srchngformystry said...

munich was an amazing little movie. it takes a lot of mental stamina to sit through 3 hours of really intense stuff.

there were some controversies about this movie because spielberg campaigned hard for this movie to be nominated for a best picture. i dont think spielberg was nominated as a director.

i loved eric bana and his group of bandleaders. they were really good actors, and im so glad i was invited to see that movie.

Jake said...

As far as Spielberg's directing. I think he should have gotten something for it. This just wasn't your typical Spielberg film, I thought. He branched out tremendously in his style, without sacrificing quality. His movies have been rather formulaic in the last 10 years, and I think he went to a new place and did a new thing. I was surprised to see his name on the film.

Anna said...

Spielberg was nominated for best director. I think one of the reasons why the movie didn't get a lot of consideration was that he kept it mostly under wraps until right before its release, and did only one interview, to Time magazine. Because of it being so controversial. . . I wasn't surprised at all for it being one of his films. It was totally something that I could see him doing after Schindler's List.
Some good thoughts Jacob. I really liked the movie too (if I can say "like" on a movie like that). I saw it right after it came out, made a point of it, but I suppose that is because I am a lot more wrapped up in Jewish culture, religous identity, and struggle than many normal people, Christians I know. If you want to hear more about the Palestinian/Israeli issue, Speaking of Faith on MPR did a great series of two programs a couple of weeks ago, with one week devoted to the Palestianian view and another week to the Israeli., Speaking of Faith, you can download them to itunes or as podcasts or whatever.
totally worth the time spent.