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Last Updated: Wednesday, 6 July, 2005, 07:59 GMT 08:59 UK
Spielberg starts Olympics drama
Steven Spielberg
Steven Spielberg said his film could be a lesson about the Middle East
Director Steven Spielberg has started filming his movie dramatisation of the 1972 Olympic Games massacre in Munich.

His film will tell the story of the Israeli agents sent to track down and assassinate the Palestinians believed to have killed 11 Israeli athletes.

It could teach the world "something important about the tragic stand-off we find ourselves in today", he said.

The unnamed movie is due to be finished in less than six months, with a release date set for 23 December.

The attack at Munich... was a defining moment in the modern history of the Middle East
Steven Spielberg
Australian actor Eric Bana, who has starred in The Hulk and Troy, will play the Mossad agent in charge of the mission.

The Munich Olympics killings were also was the subject of the 2000 Oscar-winning documentary One Day in September directed by Kevin Macdonald.

Spielberg said: "The attack at Munich by Black September and the Israeli response to it was a defining moment in the modern history of the Middle East.

"It's easy to look back at historic events with the benefit of hindsight. What's not so easy is to try to see things as they must have looked to people at the time."

'Horrific episode'

Following the story of the Mossad agents would add "a human dimension to a horrific episode", he continued.

"By experiencing how the implacable resolve of these men to succeed in their mission slowly gave way to troubling doubts about what they were doing, I think we can learn something important about the tragic stand-off we find ourselves in today."

Filming is taking place in the US, Malta, Hungary and Poland.

The director is currently enjoying success with War of the Worlds, starring Tom Cruise, which has taken more than $215m (122m) at box offices around the world in its first six days.

He has won Oscars for Saving Private Ryan and Schindler's List.

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