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Last Updated: Monday, 5 December 2005, 09:58 GMT
Spielberg film 'calls for peace'
Steven Spielberg
Spielberg picked up two Oscars for holocaust drama Schindler's List
Director Steven Spielberg has called his new film Munich, about the kidnapping of Israeli athletes at the 1972 Olympics, "a prayer for peace".

The Oscar-winning director revealed his views in a rare interview about the potentially controversial film.

"I don't think any movie or any book or any work of art can solve the stalemate in the Middle East today. But it's worth a try," he told Time magazine.

The film is due to be released across the US on 23 December.

Leaders of Jewish and Muslim groups, as well as diplomats and foreign policy experts, will preview the film ahead of its US opening.

"Somewhere inside all this intransigence there has to be a prayer for peace," said Spielberg, whose award-winning films include Saving Private Ryan and holocaust drama Schindler's List.

"The biggest enemy is not the Palestinians or the Israelis. The biggest enemy in the region is intransigence."

We don't demonise our targets. They're individuals. They have families
Steven Spielberg

The kidnapping by a Palestinian group at the 1972 Olympics in Munich led to the death of eleven Israeli athletes, five kidnappers and one German policeman.

The film, which focuses on the Israeli response to the kidnappings, sees Troy star Eric Bana play a Mossad agent, alongside Geoffrey Rush and new Bond Daniel Craig.

Both the director and screenwriter Tony Kushner interviewed the Mossad agent, played by Bana, at length - but did not reveal his identity.

Daniel Craig
Forthcoming 007 Daniel Craig stars in Spielberg's Munich

"We don't demonise our targets," said Spielberg. "They're individuals. They have families. Although what happened in Munich, I condemn."

Spielberg also discussed a new project in which he plans to give 250 video cameras and players to Israeli and Palestinian children, to allow them to record their everyday lives.

"Not dramas," Spielberg said, "just little documentaries about who they are and what they believe in, who their parents are, where they go to school, what they had to eat, what movies they watch, what CDs they listen to."

The director then hopes to see the two groups exchange videos, to help them better understand one another's lives.

"That's the kind of thing that can be effective, I think, in simply making people understand that there aren't as many differences that divide Israelis and Palestinians. Not as human beings anyway," he said.

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