Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Zizek on Munich

Khalil sent me this: "thought you might like this quote from Slavoj Zizek's In Defense of Lost Causes. In his first chapter, Happiness and Torture in the Atonal World, Human, all too human, he states the following ideas about Munich, which also deal with the same themes in Waltz with Bachir and many other films, novels, etc.:

In contrast to the simplistic opposition of good guys and bad guys, spy thrillers with artistic pretensions display all the "realistic psychological complexity" of the characters from "our" side. Far from signaling a balanced view, however, this "honest" acknowledgment of our own "dark side" stands for its very opposite, for the hidden assertion of our supremacy: we are "psychologically complex," full of doubts, while the opponents are one-dimensional fanatical killing machines. Therein resides the lie of Spielberg's Munich: it wants to be "objective," presenting moral complexity and ambiguity, psychological doubts, the problematic nature of revenge, of the Israeli perspective, but what its "realism" does is redeem the Mossad agents still further: "look, they are not just cold killers, but human beings with their doubts- they have doubts, whereas the Palestinian terrorists..." One cannot but sympathize with the hostility with which the surviving Mossad agents who really carried out the revenge killings reacted to the film ("there were no psychological doubts, we just did what we had to do") for there is much more honesty in their stance. (p11)"