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09/05/2012

40 years ago today: One Day in September - the Munich Massacre

OnedayinseptForty years ago today, Sept. 5, the Palestinian terrorist group Black September easily broke into the Olympic Village compound in Munich, Germany during the 1972 Summer Olympics where they eventually held hostage and killed 11 members of the Isreali Olympic team.

If you have not already, make it a point to rent the 1999 documentary, "One Day in September". It won an Academy Award for Best Documentary. It is also a book, which goes into detail of Mossad's attempted revenge against the terrorists. Both the movie and the book are worth your time.

Click here for the movie's website.

The story behind the making of the film is almost as good as the actual movie, which is narrated by Michael Douglas.

Even though the movie received some criticism, director Kevin Macdonald deserves all sorts of credit for the reporting, research and interviews conducted for the film. Macdonald also directed the 2004 documentary Touching the Void, an incredible recreation of a mountain climbing accident in Peru.

What seperates One Day In September from every other book or movie ever made about this tragedy is that Macdonald interviewed all of the major figures from that day. That includes reluctant German officials who had not previously granted interviews before, or required a lot of persuasion to do so. They didn't want to talk about what was a complete fiasco.

The landmark interview, and what makes this film so compelling, is with Jamal Al Gashey, who was a part of Black September that day. It took Macdonald and his crew about six months, and included many failed attempts, to secure the interview. Al Gashey is cold and without remorse in recounting the mission.

Macdonald uses much of the now famous ABC footage, including Jim McKay's memorable line, "They're all gone."

The end result of One Day in September is a gripping account of the events that changed the world.

@MacEngelProf
tengel@star-telegram.com
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