It has been 50 years this week since the tragic massacre of 11 Israelis at the 1972 Munich Olympics, and several new documentaries/docu-dramas are showing on television.
Well-known Israeli author Yossi Melman co-wrote the movie, Munich 1972: Of Games and Blood, showing on Yes VOD and StingTV. With the help of voice actors, it details the story of the event, which shocked the world, through three key people: Abu Daoud, a commander of the Black September terror group who masterminded the Munich massacre; Munich’s police chief, Manfred Schreiber, who took part in the negotiations for the hostages’ release; and Mossad chief, Zvi Zamir.
The film incorporates facts about the event that were only uncovered in the past 10 years and sheds light on the botched rescue attempt, as well as other aspects of the attack.
A three-part docu-drama, also called Munich 1972, is showing on Hot 8 on Wednesdays at 9:15 p.m; it started on September 7 and will also be available on Hot VOD. It was produced by Hot 8, Sipur (formerly known as Tadmor Entertainment, which works with MGM) and Telepool, a German company now owned by Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith.
The series, directed by Roman Shumunov and written by Shany Haziza, combines extensive archival footage (it’s sad to see how peaceful and idyllic the Olympic Games seemed during the days leading up to the massacre) with reenactments in which actors portray the main figures in the drama. While you are waiting for Guy Nattiv’s Golda biopic starring Helen Mirren, you can see Anat Waxman as Golda Meir here, and she does a very good job.
Hot HBO (and Hot VOD and NextTV) are also showing a drama series, Munich Games. It tells the story of an exhibition soccer match between Israeli and German teams held in Munich 50 years after the massacre, with Israeli and German intelligence services coping with terror threats.
The series stars Yousef “Joe” Sweid (False Flag), Doval’e Glickman (Shtisel), and Evgenia Dodina (Killing Eve, Your Honor), and was created by Michal Aviram (Fauda) and Michael Behnke (We Are Young. We Are Strong). It’s a well-made political thriller that touches on many of the themes of the massacre, although it also highlights how different the world has become in the past half-century.
IF YOU’RE looking for a good thriller and you have access to AppleTV+, give Slow Horses a try. It’s a British, six-episode series starring Gary Oldman as the commander of a group of MI5 screwups. They have not quite been kicked out, but have been exiled to a unit in a dilapidated building called Slough House, and are nicknamed the “Slow Horses.” Based on the novel by Mick Herron, it focuses on Oldman’s character, Jackson Lamb, a decrepit alcoholic who was once a top operative, and his passive-aggressive treatment of his agents.
While he berates them for being losers, he and they are dying to get back into the game and do some real work. The other lead character, River Cartwright (Jack Lowden), botched a drill in which he was supposed to take down a terrorist, but he is determined to live by the standard set by his grandfather (Jonathan Pryce), a retired high-level MI5 commander.
When a young man is taken hostage, the Slow Horses spring into action, and you will be on the edge of your seat for all six episodes to see whether they mess up again.
Slow Horses mixes black comedy with suspense very skillfully and if all the characters are stereotypes, that’s kind of the point. Kristen Scott Thomas plays the mean but efficient top MI5 commander they are not sure they can trust, while Saskia Reeves portrays a long-suffering secretary.
Extraordinary Attorney Woo
I TUNED into the Netflix series, Extraordinary Attorney Woo, about a brilliant autistic lawyer in Seoul, with some trepidation, since I have a son who has the kind of autism where you don’t go to medical school or law school. I – like many family members of people on the spectrum – have a visceral distaste for the many movies and television shows that suggest that autism is merely a cute quirk that gives people on the spectrum the opportunity to make a few cute quips while they shine as doctors, lawyers and other all-around geniuses.
So I came late to this Korean series, which recently released all the episodes for its first season. However, the series eventually won me over. It is extremely well written, the cases shown are interesting and sometimes funny, and the portrayal of Woo, while bordering on cutesiness at times, suggests the real difficulties that even those on the spectrum who are able to be fully mainstreamed face.
Park Eun-bin gives a very appealing performance in the lead role as a young woman who memorized dozens of legal books as a child, and as a young adult is able to get a job in a high-powered law firm. Her obsession is with whales, which she discusses endlessly when she is not working on a case, and the series’ stunning cinematography shows beautifully how these animals are always on her mind and inspire her.
The series also presents the tough reality she faces – people taunt and underestimate her, and she has had only one friend her entire life. It’s also important that the show addresses the different types of autism in an episode where a low-functioning man with autism is accused of a heinous crime.
Everyone assumes Woo will know just how to communicate with him, but she is baffled and intimidated. When she turns to her father for advice, he talks about the key to communicating with someone like her client and also expresses some of the loneliness he felt raising her.
This episode tackles head-on the issue that made me reluctant to watch the show and it does it with nuance and sensitivity. The writers for this show deserve every award they will win for this episode and for the rest of the season as well.