The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Spielberg finds unlikely ally

Tel Aviv, Dec. 10 (Reuters): Steven Spielberg faces fierce debate over his film about Israel’s retaliation for the Palestinian attack on its team at the Munich Olympics, but the director has at least one fan: the widow of a slain athlete.

Ilana Romano, whose weightlifter husband Yosef was the first Israeli sportsman gunned down during the 1972 guerrilla raid, said she attended an exclusive courtesy screening of Munich in Tel Aviv this week along with fellow widow Ankie Spitzer.

An advance copy of the thriller, which opens in the United States on December 23 and in Israel next month, was flown out by its producer Kathleen Kennedy and screenwriter Tony Kushner.

“They were very nice, and wanted to get across the point to us that the film was made with utmost sensitivity,” Romano said on Friday.

“For me, it was important that the film does no dishonour to the memory of the murdered athletes, nor to the image of the State of Israel. Both my criteria were satisfied,” she said.

Though no stranger to tackling highly charged historical events in his films, Spielberg has kept a low profile over Munich. Confidants say the director, recognising the potential for his film to spark controversy, wants it to speak for itself.

Munich tells of the Israeli agents assigned to hunt down and kill the Palestinians suspected of planning the Olympics assault, in which 11 athletes died. With Israel and the Palestinians still locked in conflict 30 years on, it remains a loaded episode.

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