"One Day In September": Directors are clever craftsmen

Essay by superficialHigh School, 12th gradeA-, October 2006

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"One Day In September" is directed by Kevin Macdonald. It is the award winning documentary that recreates the tragic events of the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich where eleven members of the Israeli team were kidnapped and eventually murdered. Macdonald is a clever craftsman because he influences the viewer to accept his values and opinions on this event. The craft lies in the fact that One Day In September is a version of reality, Macdonald's version, and not the absolute truth. Macdonald makes this version creditable and believable through his deliberate use of bias documentary and film conventions including selection of detail, anecdotes, archival footage, music, montage, interviews and juxtaposition. These techniques are used to influence the viewers values and opinions Macdonald presents including the sanctity of life, the German authorities being inept, family, the presentation of all sides of a story, non-political Olympics and the alienated way people live in the face of tragedy.

The opening scenes depict a scenario of a traditional Olympic games. Presenting an opinion that the Olympics are a peaceful and non-political event. Macdonald conveys this with the use of archival footage for example the German television advertisement at the beginning of the documentary showing Germany as modern and no longer run by Nazism. The strongest way the opinion is presented is through the uproar when the peace is decimated by the terrorist attack juxtaposing the initial peace with fear and terror. This is shown using excerpts from news reports such as 'There was outrage that the Olympic symbol of peace had been so shamelessly destroyed." And "The whole Olympics have been serene and happy. Now it's shattered and decimated." The use of this strong archival footage draws the viewer to believe that the Olympics should be about peace and unity. Using news...