One Day in September
One Day in September – 2000 | 94 mins | Documentary | Colour
One Day in September documents how, during the 1972 Munich Olympics, members of the Israeli team were kidnapped by an extremist Palestinian organisation, Black September, and eventually killed during a gun battle between their captors and the Munich police. A story of immense drama, sporadic incompetence and abject horror is meticulously recounted through a wealth of archive footage, hideously graphic stills and interviews with members of the security services, relatives of the dead athletes and the only surviving member of Black September.
On 5 September, eight Palestinian terrorists broke into the Olympic village apartments and took 12 Israeli athletes hostage. A wrestling coach was killed while tackling a terrorist who belonged to Black September – a group connected to the PLO. They demanded the release of 236 political prisoners or the hostages would be executed at noon. Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir refused to negotiate. With just minutes to spare, terrorist leader Issa extended the deadline and demanded a jet. Two helicopters were organised to take the Arabs and Israelis to a nearby military airport where undercover policeman and snipers lay in wait. When the Palestinians disembarked from the helicopters, the snipers opened fire and a 90 minute gun battle erupted. By the end, most of the terrorists were dead or wounded. Two surviving terrorists killed the Israelis with a hand grenade and a round of bullets. The three remaining terrorists never stood trial. Two were assassinated in the late 70s by Israeli hitmen. The third, Jamal Al Gashey, appears as a witness in the film.
MacDonald has conspired to make a gripping piece of cinema is in little doubt, but that Jamal Al Gashey of Black September is flatly referred to in the captions and credits as a terrorist, while Zvi Zamir, chief of the Israeli Secret Service, MOSSAD, almost comes across as a hero, despite being head of an organisation whose murder squads were every bit as indiscriminately brutal as Black September, is an unforgivable example of editorial insensitivity.
Kevin Macdonald: Director
Neve Cunningham: Cinematography
Alwin Kuchler: Cinematography
Justine Wright: Editing
Michael Douglas: Narrator
Craig Armstrong: Original Music
Arthur Cohn: Producer
Jack Battsek: Producer
Wilm Brucker: Sound Department
Amir Boverman: Sound Department