Friday, July 01, 2005

Spielbergian Misgivings

I have a soft spot for Steven Spielberg. Whatever he lacks in artistic courage is often made up by his obvious instinctive talent for cinema and his love for the capacities of the medium. And, while I have some problems with it, there's no doubt that Schindler's List is a very great film. However, his new film on the Munich atrocities and the Israeli operation in response (which I personally consider one of the greatest moments in Israeli history) looks like a step off the deep end. Most troubling is this:
The film, which is being written by the playwright Tony Kushner...
I've seen Kushner speak on one very unfortunate occasion, and I'm not sure words can describe the depth of the man's vitriolic hatred of anyone to the right of Noam Chomsky. In twenty minutes he managed to vomit out every possible cliche in the necro-socialist playbook, including an offhand Bush as Nazi reference, in language more suited to a drug-addled high school dropout than a Pulitzer Prize winning playwright. The fact that Spielberg considers this blubbering Chomskyite (who, I should note, has never expressed anything but contempt for Israel and Zionism) suitable to author a cinematic treatment of one of Israel's greatest traumas and its corresponding (and perfectly justified) response; is extremely troubling indeed. I know that Spielberg, like everyone else in Hollywood, lives in a liberal bubble in which Tony Kushner's ideological psychopathology probably seems like quaint overenthusiam; but this is likely to be the biggest and most widely seen cinematic portrayal of Israel since Exodus and to say I'm concerned would be putting it mildly.