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SABENA HIJACKING: MY VERSION
Striking reenactments and harrowing testimonies combine to riveting effect in this true story of a terrorist siege that helped shape future responses to terrorism by the Israeli government. Seamlessly blending dramatic re-enactments, personal interviews and archival footage, Sabena Hijacking: My Version is a suspenseful, moment-by- moment account of the May 8, 1972 hijacking of Sabena Flight 971 by the Palestinian group Black September. On the tarmac at the Tel Aviv airport, with the captain held at gunpoint and the Jewish passengers separated from the others, the hijackers threatened to blow up the plane unless Israel agreed to release Palestinian prisoners. Stalling for time, Israeli Special Forces launched a daring operation to rescue the passengers and retake the plane. The docudrama is given greater authenticity by the discovery and inclusion of the late Captain Reginald Levy’s cockpit recording during the hijacking, some of which is played during the film. This actual recording adds detail to the quiet heroism of the London-born pilot who received the Distinguished Flying Cross for his wartime service for the Royal Air Force, as he calmly negotiates the 30-hour ordeal on the day of his 50th birthday with his wife on board. The sole surviving Palestinian hijacker, sympathetically portrayed, recounts the event from her perspective as well. Future Prime Ministers Benjamin Netanyahu, Ehud Barak and Shimon Peres, who were involved in the hostage negotiations and the rescue effort, supply the behind-the-scenes plans to storm the plane. By juxtaposing Israeli and Palestinian narratives, Sabena Hijacking: My Version poses hard questions about the seeds and legacy of political terrorism—questions we continue to ask in 2017.
Israel, 2015, Arabic, English, Hebrew, French with English subtitles, 98 minutes