One Day in September

"Extraordinary"

One Day in September Review


The current crisis in the Middle East, with its painful controversy regarding the sovereignty over Temple Mount, makes the timing for the documentary One Day in September (Best Documentary Oscar: 1999) perfect. The film presents the historical events of the 1972 Munich Olympics, when Palestinian terrorists took Israeli athletes hostage and interrupted the Games. The filmmakers use actual footage taken at the time, interviews with German officials and children of the victims, clips from television news reports, and interviews with the only surviving terrorist who participated in the attack, Jamal Al Gashey.

The film starts off on a personal note: Ankie Spitzer, a widow of one of the Israeli athletes kept as a hostage, recalls their happy marriage and anticipation of coming to the Olympic games. Giving the tragedy a human face underlines the message of the film: At the core of every political game, human life and death are nothing more than a by-product of political cruelty. Objectively, it gives a succinct summary of why the 1972 Olympics, besides being as political as Olympic Games always are, were so particularly important to both Germans and Israelis. Subjectively, and understandably so, the film is pro-Israeli: If members of Israeli team are presented as exemplary citizens -- young, ambitions, with families and babies -- Palestinians are shown receiving training in violence, hiding as Zionist refugees in Lebanon and Libya, carrying out their terrorist acts with anonymous brutality (as they don't even know the target of their attack until very late). Thus, in addition and perhaps without realizing it, the film exemplifies why cinema is such a powerful and dangerous medium; One Day in September is an adroitly constructed yet highly manipulative film.

Once the film gets to its point by recreating the actual events that took place on the day of the attack, September 5, 1972, it tries to create suspense by applying slow motion shots and stirring music score punctuated with pounding sounds of a heart beat. This technique is powerful and gripping, but the real achievement of the film is in its detailed reconstruction of the events that led to the atrocity. It is almost impossible to believe how it was all allowed to happen -- in a small apartment in the Olympic Village nine athletes were held hostage, one was killed and another was left to bleed to death, but the festival of sport continued as if nothing happened. Debunking the idea of the Olympic Games as a festive celebration in peace and harmony, the filmmakers describe step-by-step how, in the middle of public and media attention, German officials absolved themselves from the terrorist attack and resumed the competition. The film then details exactly how the police, lacking an anti-terrorist squad, proper security, and turning down help from the Israelis, ignominiously failed to save hostages by attempting to carry out an ill-conceived maneuver. The result of this drama is devastating and ghastly.

Despite the fact that One Day in September might upset a lot of people for being manipulative and one-sided, this historical account is shocking, jarring, and unequivocally worth seeing.

One long day.



One Day in September

Facts and Figures

Run time: 94 mins

In Theaters: Thursday 24th August 2000

Distributed by: Sony Picture Classics

Production compaines: SAD Pictures

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 96%
Fresh: 27 Rotten: 1

IMDB: 7.9 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: Murat Akguel as Majito, Dean Mabelson as Truck Driver, Dara Sepehri as Giamo

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

Contactmusic 2017 Exclusive

New Movies

Life Movie Review

Life Movie Review

Like a mash-up of Alien and Gravity, this ripping sci-fi horror movie is very effective...

The Lost City of Z Movie Review

The Lost City of Z Movie Review

Based on a true story, it's the historical aspect of these events that holds the...

Chips Movie Review

Chips Movie Review

It's clear from the very start that this movie has little to do with the...

Beauty And The Beast Movie Review

Beauty And The Beast Movie Review

This remake of Disney's 1991 classic is remarkably faithful, using present-day digital animation effects to...

The Salesman Movie Review

The Salesman Movie Review

Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi won his second Oscar with this astute drama which, like 2011's...

Get Out Movie Review

Get Out Movie Review

Leave it to a comedian to make one of the scariest movies in recent memory....

Personal Shopper Movie Review

Personal Shopper Movie Review

After winning a series of major awards for her role in Olivier Assayas' Clouds of...

Advertisement
Certain Women Movie Review

Certain Women Movie Review

In films like Wendy and Lucy and Meek's Cutoff, writer-director Kelly Reichardt has told sharply...

Kong: Skull Island Movie Review

Kong: Skull Island Movie Review

After the success of 2014's Godzilla reboot, the Warner Bros monsters get their own franchise,...

Viceroy's House Movie Review

Viceroy's House Movie Review

Filmmaker Gurinder Chada (Bend It Like Beckham) draws on her own family history to explore...

Trespass Against Us Movie Review

Trespass Against Us Movie Review

With an extra dose of attitude and energy, this Irish comedy-drama hits us like a...

Logan Movie Review

Logan Movie Review

Hugh Jackman returns to his signature role one last time (so he says), reuniting with...

Patriots Day Movie Review

Patriots Day Movie Review

The third time's a charm for Mark Wahlberg and director Peter Berg, who previously teamed...

A Cure for Wellness Movie Review

A Cure for Wellness Movie Review

It's no surprise that this creep-out horror thriller is packed with whizzy visual invention, since...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.