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Shooting Munich
The story of Munich unfolds in three separate realms: the extremely public events of the Munich Olympics which took place under the glare of the international media, the extremely secretive and shadow-laden world of the Mossad and its unacknowledged hit squads operating around the world under an opaque cloak, and the internal worlds of the five diverse assassins themselves as they take on the psychological twists and turns of their unprecedented assignment.

To capture all of this visually, Steven Spielberg turned to one of his longtime trusted collaborators, the two-time Academy Award®-winning cinematographer Janusz Kaminski, who has worked with Spielberg on nine previous films. A Polish teenager in 1972, Kaminski watched the events of Munich from a somewhat different perspective—through the veil of the Iron Curtain. "In Poland it was seen of course as a tragic event, as it was all over the world,” he says, "but the news that we got through official sources indicated a certain bias.”

Yet the cinematographer believes that one of the most fascinating elements of turning the events surrounding Munich into a motion picture is that nearly everybody has both a uniquely personal memory of it. "We all have our own experience with this event,” he says. "Even if you weren't born yet, you've seen bits of it on television or in history books. Or you've been introduced to it through recent events. But whichever way you come at it, it is very relevant.”

Working in the usual manner of their unique collaboration, Kaminski's initial action was to shoot a series of photographic tests to find a look that he and Spielberg felt suited the intense mood and suspenseful structure of the film—one that they hoped would echo some of the classic paranoid thrillers of the '70s but with a contemporary edge.

"Steven and I are at a point in our relationship right now that we have to discuss things very little,” Kaminski notes. "He knows and trusts my judgment and I know his aesthetic sense very well. We converse a little, mostly about what we really shouldn't do, but pretty much the visual style is left for me to determine. So I went to Paris in 2004 and started experimenting with various color schemes, various filters, various lenses, various lighting and various chemical processes.”

In further developing the film's visual style, Kaminski looked at the story through the prism of a world map. "There are 8 different countries in the film, and I decided to give each a different look, very subtly, and each with a somewhat different color palette. This way each country has its own individuality, even though most of them were shot in Malta and Hungary,” he says. "So everything that happens in the Middle East is more colorful, warmer, sunnier. But once we leave that part of the world for Paris, Frankfurt, London and Rome the colors become cooler and more de-saturated. And even each of those European cities have their own character and colors.”

For example, Kaminski points out that for the scenes in Cyprus he emphasizes more vibrant, sun-baked yellow tones, while in Athens the color palette veers towards Aegean blues, and then in Paris, the palette becomes much softer with an ambience of rainy skies. The lighting also shifts in the film, starting with a friendlier tone as the hit squad first gets to know one another at an intimate dinner and moving to a harsher photo-chemical process full of darker shadows that reflect the characters' inner turmoil as their mission becomes more frightening and filled with doubts.

Each one of the assassinations is also shot in a unique manner, which is how Spielberg envisioned the film unfolding. "I wanted every assassination to be different, because as the team experiences each one, their views about what they're doing change, the group dynamics shift, they change their feelings about themselves and each other, and there's more and more stress, anxiety and

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