Running Time: 97 mins
With Australia in Olympic fever, the release of this film is a sobering event. One day in September narrates how Palestinian terrorists took eleven Israelis hostage at the 1972 Munich Olympics. It also looks at the incompetent and, with hindsight, naive way the German Government responded to security matters at these Olympics and to this crisis in particular.
All the hostages and five of the terrorists were killed. This film claims that in a later conspiracy between the Palestinian and German authorities, the three remaining terrorists were handed over in exchange for the release of a high-jacked Lufthansa jet. It is argued that subsequently Mossad has killed two of the three terrorists. The lone survivor of the 21-hour tragedy at Munich is interviewed.
This film's access to most of surviving key players in this event is extraordinary. The power of this film, however, is the balance it strikes between the political and human stories it tells. We hear from victims, their families, political, security and Olympic officials all intercut with footage of the event and the coverage of it on international broadcasters.
One day in September charts the event that changed the behaviour of the world in relation to international security. It also charts how far the Palestinians have come from terrorist activities to diplomatic meetings at Camp David.
The IOC comes out badly in this film. During that fateful day in September, all the IOC wanted was for the Games to continue. The public knew better. Still, the viewing public also looked at the murder and hostage of the Israelis as a spectacle. At its height nearly 80,000 people jammed the site to see the action. This film holds a mirror up to many faces. One day in September won this year's Oscar for the Best Documentary. Don't miss this disturbing and salutary story.
Richard Leonard SJ