A bunch of cunts, mostly in the Australian sense. Except that one guy.

Beyond "Munich": The Ten Movies Steven Spielberg Has Yet To Make

Imagine if we were in a parallel universe in which Hollywood gave Arabs and Muslims a fair shake. Here are ten films (all based on true stories) that are just waiting for Spielberg's magic.

By Mas'ood Cajee, December 8, 2005

I'm ready for my close-up
Hollywood mogul Steven Spielberg's latest film "Munich" focuses on Israel's efforts to avenge the tragic killings of its athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympic Games. Although the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is ripe with great ideas for potential blockbuster films, Hollywood flicks about the conflict have tended to remain formulaic and dehumanizing.

Spielberg hopes "Munich" will be different, and claims he didn't want to make "a Charles Bronson movie — good guys vs. bad guys and Jews killing Arabs without any context." Critics say Spielberg is too pro-Israel to make a fair film about the conflict.

Imagine for a second it is Opposite Day. Imagine we're in some kind of Twilight Zone parallel universe in which Hollywood gives Arabs and Muslims a fair shake. What kind of movies about the Middle East would we then be chomping Goobers, Junior Mints, and popcorn to at the local twenty screen multiplex?

Maybe these movies might actually be made by some of the 125 Palestinian kids Spielberg is giving video cameras to document their lives. Perhaps a talented few will go on to become big-time Hollywood directors. Here are ten potential films — all inspired by actual events — that are just waiting for the magic of Spielberg & his wannabes:

1. King David Hotel: The bombing of the King David Hotel, which served as headquarters of the British administration in Palestine, killed 91 Arabs, Jews, and Brits in 1946. Two future Prime Ministers of Israel, David Ben Gurion and Menachem Begin, masterminded the attack. Disguised as Arabs, members of Begin's Irgun placed 350kg of explosives inside the building. In this action-packed thriller, David (Pierce Brosnan) — a British officer ordered to hunt down the killers — falls for Margaret (Uma Thurman), an American journalist working for Life Magazine. But is Margaret really in love or is she a secret Zionist assassin out to stop David in his tracks?

2. Nakba: A story of innocent love in a time of war and tragedy. Layla (Penelope Cruz) & Salam (Orlando Bloom) are a Romeo & Juliet against the backdrop of the 1948 Nakba, the Palestinian national catastrophe. During the Nakba, over 700,000 Palestinians fled — voluntarily & involuntarily — their homes. Can their love survive conflict?

3. USS Liberty: When Israeli boats and fighter jets attack the US Navy intelligence ship USS Liberty in the middle of the 1967 Six Day War, 34 US servicemen are killed and 173 are wounded. The official word from Washington and Tel Aviv is that the attack was a mistake. But Brad Pitt & Tom Cruise, who play surviving officers from the Liberty, swear vengeance after discovering that the attack was actually part of a plot to start World War III.

4. Sabra & Shatila: It's 1982 and the war in Lebanon rages on. British war correspondent Robert Fisk (Star Wars star Ewan MacGregor) hides in the camps of Sabra & Shatilla, while a Lebanese militia aided and abetted by Israel slaughters thousands of Palestinian refugees. Sahar (Sandra Bullock) is a Palestinian mother determined to protect her family at any cost.

5. Vanunu: A political thriller set in Israel, Australia, Thailand, England, and Italy. "Syriana" star George Clooney plays Mordechai Vanunu, the nuclear technician who exposes Israel's nuclear weapons program and pays the ultimate price. Nicole Kidman plays Cheryl Bentov, the American Mossad agent who seduces and kidnaps him.

6. Hebron: A story of tragedy and torn loyalties. In 1994, Brooklyn Jewish doctor Baruch Goldstein opened fire on Muslim worshippers in Hebron, killing 29. Palestinian American Mazen Khalili (Tom Hanks), a State Department official assigned to investigate the massacre, struggles with his job responsibilities and his roots. Leah Rabinowitz (Meg Ryan) is a Jewish American journalist who discovers a dark family secret that will change her life forever.

7. Qana: On April 18, 1996, Israeli shelling of a UN Compound that shelters Lebanese refugees kills more than 100 & injures over 300 men, women, and children. Jessica (Angelina Jolie) is a UN worker determined to let the world know what happened after witnessing the atrocity. Yossi (Robert De Niro) is a Mossad agent assigned to kill Jolie.

8. Gaza: Chris Hedges (Harrison Ford), a New York Times correspondent in Jerusalem, files stories from his hotel room. Hedges reaches a turning point when he witnesses Israeli soldiers killing young Palestinian boys for sport, then defies his editors by writing stories that humanize Palestinians. David Schwimmer & Sarah Jessica Parker make cameo appearances as the parents of Muhammad al-Durra, the 12 year old Palestinian boy killed by Israeli troops in 2000.

9. Rachel: Rachel Corrie (Gwyneth Paltrow) is the idealistic young American activist crushed to death by the Israeli army with a Caterpillar bulldozer. Sally Field, well-known for her role in "Not Without My Daughter", plays Rachel's mother.

10. Refuseniks: When a fellow soldier commits suicide after killing an unarmed pregnant Palestinian woman (played by Natalie Portman) in cold blood, two young Israeli soldiers (Matt Damon and Ben Affleck) decide that the occupation and the killing of Palestinians is immoral and unjust.

Mas'ood Cajee lives in San Joaquin County, California.

http://www.altmuslim.com/perm.php?id=1607_0_25_0_M
Permalink hateDoubleStandards 
January 2nd, 2006
Aren't there plenty of avenues for Muslims to make films? Bollywood, for one?

That's what they tell us black folks, anyways.
Permalink sharkfish 
January 2nd, 2006
I don't think there are many (if any) Muslim movie stars in Bollywood.
Permalink Colm O'Connor 
January 2nd, 2006
Whatever. Some other movie-making business hub.
Permalink sharkfish 
January 2nd, 2006
There are two.
Permalink Colm O'Connor 
January 2nd, 2006
Make their own, then. Quit bitching. Nobody feels sorry for the oil merchants. You've got trillions. Make a movie.
Permalink sharkfish 
January 2nd, 2006
Besides, even if they WERE represented in Bollywood, I don't think you could easily make a musical out of the subject matter.

Can you imagine a singing, tap-dancing suicide bomber? Or Vanunu - the singing, tap-dancing nuclear technician? Or Rachel Corrie - the singing, tap-dancing girl who gets run over by a bulldozer.
Permalink Colm O'Connor 
January 2nd, 2006
Funny, all those movies seem to be very Arab or Muslim centric.

Now, I admit the need to have an Arab-centric movie. But wouldn't it be better to have an Arab production company producing it, with an Arab director, with an Arab film crew? Those exist, right?

Spielberg was trying to get away from the formula -- and you say he's too allied with Israel to succeed?

I think you're disproving your own point. No Spielberg movie would be good enough for you, unless it clearly and definitively ignored any negative thing that Arabs or Palestinians have done.

Clearly, the West has mistreated the Arabian nations, in the way it got access to their oil resources. Also clearly, their response to this mistreatment has been chaotic, unfocused, un-united, and even self-defeating when terrorism is resorted to.

I would love to understand the Islamic/Arab mindset. As far as I've been able to tell to date, they seem like a group of tribal members each out to further the interests of their own tribe. They seem to have a hard time pursuing moderation, united political action, or behaving with any integrity at all.
Permalink AllanL5 
January 2nd, 2006
Four months since the handover, things seem to be going badly in Gaza. Fatah factions in gun battles with the PA. Hundreds of protesters in the streets. Israel launching missles. Jihad and Aksa Brigades end the cease-fire. Foreigners getting kidnapped. PA police seize control of the Rafah crossing with Egypt causing EU observers to flee.
Permalink  
January 2nd, 2006
I thought "Munich" was very very good and, although it did not address the palestinian issue as a whole, it was very nuanced with the how does a liberal democracy battle terror question.

Most of the list seems to be oriented around Palestinian issues. This is fine, but Sharkfish, don't expect any oil money to go to making movies about Palestianans. The other Arabs all hate the Palestinians as much as the Israels. They are merely used as a proxy to needle Israel.
Permalink  
January 2nd, 2006
How stupid do you have to be to think that Arabs hate the Palestinians?

Indifferent, maybe, but not hate.
Permalink Colm O'Connor 
January 2nd, 2006
Wow. A little heat, a little anger. This is what the internet is all about.

OK Indifferent.

Indifferent to the tune of a $100 million dollars for Hamas to send young Palestiians to their deaths.
Permalink  
January 2nd, 2006
Isn't the islamic faith fundamentally medieval?

And in addition most islamic states seem to invoke it to justify the subjugation of women even though in the Koran, women have rights.
Permalink Ross 
January 2nd, 2006
Ross you are a moron.
Permalink Flasher T 
January 2nd, 2006
If I'm such a moron, name some muslim states that don't suppress women
Permalink Ross 
January 2nd, 2006
Flasher T,

How do we explain the situation of women living under Shari'a if not by reference to the medieval nature of the religion? Is it a forward-looking and modern stance on women's rights and Ross and I are just missing the boat?

It's a shitty and unproductive way to treat your women. Is that controversial?
Permalink  
January 2nd, 2006
Turkey
Permalink Colm O'Connor 
January 2nd, 2006
Isn't Turkey one of the few states with a majority muslim population but NOT politically islamic?
Permalink Ross 
January 2nd, 2006
*shrug*
Permalink Colm O'Connor 
January 2nd, 2006
If you don't know then why are you participating?
Permalink Ross 
January 2nd, 2006
If you're talking about the effect of having the Muslim faith so intimately tied up with Government... well, there ain't any case that I know of where a mix of Church and State has gone well.
Permalink Colm O'Connor 
January 2nd, 2006
Turkey - very secular government, even had a woman as prime minister for a while in the mid 90s.

Iran, Afganistan, Saudi Arabia - To what do we attribute the conditions of women in these places if NOT to Islam?
Permalink  
January 2nd, 2006
Seems to work ok in the Vatican - lol
Permalink Ross 
January 2nd, 2006
Colm--most of the other Arab groups hate the Palestinians. That's why they were never welcome into Jordan or Lebanon or Egypt or Saudi Arabia.
Permalink mb 
January 2nd, 2006
Spielberg has a new movie?
Permalink  
January 2nd, 2006
Just out, yeah, about gay cowboys.
Permalink  
January 2nd, 2006
Indonesia, Malaysia
Permalink Flasher T 
January 2nd, 2006
It's trite to blame Islam for all cultural deficiencies found in societies where that religion is dominant and it's depressing to find otherwise intelligent people willing to stereotype all Muslims with some region's peculiar sexual politics either from ignorance or prejudice.

Sharia law is based on one dystopic culture snapfrozen in one location at one point in time, should be evaluated as such and pigeonholed alongside the Inquisition in the museum of history.

It plays little part in Indonesia where women are not shut up in the home. This nation contains the world's largest number of Muslims and has elected a female President. The secessionist movement in Aceh seeks to establish Sharia but they have little prospect of succeeding.

There is as much or more cultural diversity amongst Muslims worldwide as there is among other religions.
Permalink trollop 
January 2nd, 2006
Megawati wasn't elected. She was appointed by the legislature. Indonesia didn't have direct election for the president until 2004. She was truly an idiot, who did essentially nothing as president.

The rest of your post, while expousing a nice feel-good everything is very complex view of the world, don't really say much. Sahria, rather than a relic in some museum, is a virulent political philosophy. Obviously, Muslims can practice their beliefs in a peaceful and respectful way, but it would be naive to deny the enormous negative impact of Islam on the politcs and cultures of many of the countries where it is found today.
Permalink  
January 2nd, 2006
Did you mean: sharia
Permalink trollop 
January 2nd, 2006
Two letters are transposed, you can figure out the typo, what's your point? That although you don't know much about Indonesian politics, you're a better typist and therefore your arguments on the state of Islam hold more weight. Or are you trying to signal that you have nothing left to add by addressing the most trival aspects of the discussion you can?
Permalink  
January 2nd, 2006
I repeat it is specious to ascribe cultural oddities to Islam. Is tribalism inherent to Islam? Is female circumcision decreed by Islam? Is honour killing or not eating pork peculiar to Islam?

Of course Sharia is a pest in the true sense of the word seeking to preserve and impose a way of life best long discarded along with the other religious monomanias found closer to our own homes.

And Megawati's incompetence or ineffectiveness is not at issue otherwise we should consider Pakistan's Bhutto as well. Fancy a woman running Saudi Arabia or any of the Gulf States (possibly not including Texas) - she'd have snowball's hope.

It's the culture, bubba.
Permalink trollop 
January 2nd, 2006
It is a lie that muslims killed the olympic atheletes. The atheletes were obviously killed by Jewish agents in order to justify the unprovoked killings.

If we are going to make a film, let us start with a remake of Triumph of the Will, one of the greatest films ever made, which speaks powerful truths.
Permalink Muhammed Jabbar 
January 2nd, 2006
www.opinionjournal.com/extra/?id=110007743
Permalink Flasher T 
January 3rd, 2006
Yeah, and let's not forget that those pesky Jews arranged their own decimation with Hitler, so they could implant a guilt complex into everyone forever thence...
Permalink ping? 
January 3rd, 2006
>Colm--most of the other Arab groups hate the Palestinians.
>That's why they were never welcome into Jordan or Lebanon
>or Egypt or Saudi Arabia.

Jordan took a LOT of Palestinian refugees, as did Lebanon. They simply couldn't take any more. Saudi is a different matter.

Israel, OTOH, is one of the few remaining openly racist states. A marriage between a Jew and a Palestinian, for instance, will not be recognized.
Permalink Colm O'Connor 
January 3rd, 2006
Sharkfish has a point - there are moslems who have shit loads of oil money...granted they don't tend to be palestinian but what does that matter.

Of course equally we shouldn't have to worry about underrepresentation of the experience of black people in American films as there are American's with shit loads of oil money...granted they don't tend to be black but what does that matter.

"Munich" deserves to be made...and if we were honest so do some of the one's above - and in many cases they are. Unfortunately they tend to be in Arabic and pass us monolingual English speakers by.

However, in the end my heart fails to bleed on this one.
Permalink a cynic writes... 
January 3rd, 2006
-----"Colm--most of the other Arab groups hate the Palestinians. That's why they were never welcome into Jordan or Lebanon or Egypt or Saudi Arabia."------

This is rubbish. There are vast numbers of Palestinians in all the countries you mention, and Syria, except for Egypt (and the reason there is economic). There is a certain tension between different nationalities, as there is in Europe or South America, and the fact that there are Palestinians in most middle eastern countries means they are going to be on the receiving end.
Permalink Stephen Jones 
January 3rd, 2006
Incidentally, I presume Spielberg doesn't mention the retaliatory bombing of Damascus by the Israeli air force.

This has a special significance for me as the first inkling we had about the Munich massacre was on the roof of a hotel in Damascus. We saw a load of planes flying over, and idly remarked "What if they were Israeli bombers." Then we saw the little black specks falling out of them.
Permalink Stephen Jones 
January 3rd, 2006
The movie mentions bombings but I think of camps. In the movie, the complain about bombings is no one notices them, they don't get headlines. I tink the line "bring terror to the terrorists" is used.
Permalink Kasey 
January 3rd, 2006

This topic was orginally posted to the off-topic forum of the
Joel on Software discussion board.

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