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How Does The Film Munich Relate to The Encoding and Decoding Theory and What is Its Effects on The Perception of The Israeli / Palestinian Conflict

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This essay will be talking about the representation of Israeli/ Palestinian conflict in the film Munich and how the film used common stereotypes to exaggerate the character’s role in the story, also how that affects the perception of the people in the common culture. I will be doing this by analyzing the storyline and the techniques used to present and form the characters on the screen. The representation which is the description or portrayal of someone or something in a particular way means to depict or to show an image of something that is already there for example news, when it’s used by mass media it creates stereotypes about people and countries, re-presentation gives a meaning to the things that are depicted. Because the things that are being depicted are images of what the thing, story or person actually is, as it can never be 100 percent accurate, because it’s not the actual thing, it’s just the way the story writer or journalist sees the event, and you are seeing things from his perspective (Stuart Hall in his video-lecture “Representation & the Media,”).

A certain group of people can be represented by the media using written, filmed or a different medium, for example immigrants and immigration are subjects that are very controversial which means these subject are being represented by bias people for their own gain and the true meaning is unclear and that means no one can see the full picture but still most people have an opinion depending on where they get the representation from. “There is no such thing called unmediated access to reality” (dyer 1993) which means you as a viewer or a reader will never see the full picture, even if you were at the scene you only see your interpretation of the event nothing more. Film is a very traditional way of getting stereotypes and views forced upon the audience, so film somewhat shapes the way we deal and think about individuals and cultures even if we haven’t been exposed to them directly, for example, the way we see the events of the operation Wrath Of God is from the perspective of the Mossad agent and the killings to them is fully justified as they are killing enemies of Israel and terrorists, the PLO members that kidnapped and killed 11 Israeli athletes, but if we see it from another point of view, the PLO members needed and deserved a fair trial under international law, but in the film that was not suggested or proposed, also not mentioned which would suggest to the audience that their actions were fully justified, to understand this more we need to understand encoding and decoding. Encoding and decoding was developed first by the cultural studies scholar Stuart hall in 1973 and it provides an approach on how media messages are created , received and interpreted, it claims that the audience is presented with the messages for them to decode and digest depends on the individual’s culture and personal experience unlike other theories that strips the power from the audience he claims that audiences can have an interactive role in decoding the message, depending on the person and people might interpret a message differently from others and audiences can band together to change a message, decoding is basically understanding the message that someone already knows.

To someone who doesn’t know anything about the history of the conflict or the culture, it would put Palestinians in a bad light, Despite being killers, the Mossad agents that carry out the targeted revenge killings of Palestinians in Munich are all presented as human and caring individuals. The only personality conflicts that emerge is when one of them begins to question the morality of their revenge killings, and even when such issues appear, the character with moral conflicts is quickly killed off. The subsequent message seems to be that questioning the morality of such acts can only end with death. In addition, the effort to avoid civilian casualties. At one point, one of the Mossad agents declares that ‘it’s strange to think of yourself as an assassin’. No such qualms are mentioned by Palestinian characters in the film, for whom the morals of killing natural and never brought into question. News reports are supposed, to tell the truth, but most of the time they have a hidden agenda to either provoke the reader’s emotions towards one side of the debate, the audience might not know that they are being manipulated, the words the writer uses to describe are profoundly important and can swing the reader’s opinion to the left or the right, one of the most controversial subjects that we can see an example of this in articles about immigration, some provoke sympathy for the others like the Sun newspaper describes them as swarms of insects. The representation of Palestinians in Munich is an example on how stereotypes can affect the way people see a group, Palestinians are mostly represented as religious fundamentalists what this essay is suggesting that generalization of the media robs the culture of what makes it unique.

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict has frequently been the focus of Western-produced films, which seek to explain the core of the problem. Claims to a truthful representation of reality have traditionally been linked to a parallel assumption of cultural authority over Palestinians who, unlike Israelis, had until recently little access to filmic means of representation. Through a number of films, produced by both Palestinians and non-Palestinians.Munich others Palestinians to the extent that any productive message is lost in the Orientalist representations it contains. for nearly thirty minutes the words ‘Palestine’or ‘Palestinians’are not spoken by any of the main characters in the film. Prior to this mention, Palestinians are referred to as ‘Arabs’, ‘fedayyin’, ‘Arab terrorists’, and ‘people like these’. the existence of Palestinians appears minutes into the film, when Golda Meier, the members of Black September, describes Palestinians as follows: ‘The people, they want to destroy us…Forget peace for now…We have laws, we represent civilization…I don’t know where these they come from’. The viewer of Munich uses the context to understand the Palestinian cause, the motivations of Black September for undertaking terrorism, and who Palestinians actually are. Instead, we are presented with a plain example in traditional Orientalist texts, that is, evil and, in Meier’s words, ‘ unrecognizable’, whereas Israel represents Western civilization. In one of the scenes the main character Avner, the Mossad agent is presented as a sexual being, a lover with much to lose in the form of wife and unborn child.

Avner’s loving, affectionate. Meanwhile, the only representations we find in Munich of the Palestinians are hysterical women weeping that the ‘Arab terrorists’of Black September are dead. Thus, the Mossad agent is presented as a lover and family man is set against nameless, faceless terrorists whose families only appear in a very limited sequence in the film. When Palestinian families are shown, they speak Arabic, yet subtitles are often not provided, Othering the Arab characters and rendering them even more ‘unrecognizable’and unconnected to the viewer. This movie is inspired by real events and the operation was an Israeli mission, the movie was made from the Israelis point of view so its bis to show how the Israelis responded and their judgment, the Palestinians were treated as the antagonists in this movie first when they were shown celebrating when they heard about the massacre in the news, which on it’s own , and to someone who doesn’t know about the history of the conflict, can seem as if the Palestinians are celebrating murder and when Avner has a heartfelt conversation with PLO member Ali over their homeland and who deserves to rule over the lands, Ali was justifying the acts the Palestinians commit and the main character’s response shows the audience both sides of the coin but still represents Palestinians in a bad light because that isn’t every Palestinians point of view, as they think they are freedom fighters but the film shows them more as militant fundamentalists it paints all Palestinians in the same brush.

Parts from the Orientalist perception of the history of Israel and Palestine also emerge at various points in the film. The revenge killings are framed in terms of the apparent weakness of Israel because it is just ‘a small country’. The Palestinian connection to their land is rendered inauthentic or false when one Palestinian character is told that he should leave Palestine and settle elsewhere because they ‘are Arabs, there are lots of places for Arabs’. This perspective essentializes all Arabic cultures into one, painting them as a mass of people from the same culture who are no different from anyone who speaks Arabic thus robbing them from their individuality and identity as Palestinians, which has usually been a method for Othering peoples of the Middle East throughout Western Orientalist history. a culture might have different groups of Arabs” is a cultural and linguistic term. It refers to those who speak Arabic as their first language. Arabs are not a race Most Arabs are Muslims but there are also millions of Christian Arabs and thousands of Jewish Arabs. there are 22 countries you can’t paint all of these people with one brush. When Avner truly questions his commitment for Mossad, he is consistently reassured by other characters as to the righteousness of his actions.

Among other justifications, Avner is explicitly told that ‘if these guys live, Israelis die…You know this is true’, and ‘you killed for the future, for peace’. When Avner again confronts his Mossad supervisor in the closing scene of the movie and communicates his misgivings, he is left standing alone, set against the skyline of New York City. As the actions killings of the Israeli athletes, is left to sympathize with the burden Avner bears as a revenge killer, who walks away and out of the frame. As the scene fades out, we see the Twin Towers in the background(which would be destroyed decades later in the 9/11 attacks) Munich was specifically chosen for this analysis because, Munich was a large-budget film by an internationally-known group of actors and producers, In Munich, Palestinians are terrorists who are killed in the context of justified revenge. Munich presents realistic depictions of violence and killing Even when the killings of Palestinians are ostensibly the topic of the film or, at the very least, when the morality of killing them is called into question, Orientalism still permeates their depictions at every turn. Perhaps more damaging, since this film attempt to confront the morality of Israeli killings of Palestinians, is the fact that old conventions are reinforced when Palestinian characters are Othered by making them completely absent and removing their identity and human nature, placing them in binary opposition with their civilised Israeli killers, and depicting them as unknown corpses. These depictions reinforce the traditional Orientalist Otherings of Palestinians and render Palestinians disposable. While their killings may be portrayed as regrettable, they are only so to the extent that their Israeli killers must bear the burden of guilt. This effectively displaces Palestinians within films that supposedly address the morality of the Palestinian situation and the events that unfold as a result. One should also note that this film attempt to represent a pivotal event in the history of the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Therefore, we must consider the ways in which these narratives contribute to the formation of collective memory about Israel and Palestine. By presenting narratives from the point of view of the reluctant killer, the deaths of the Othered Palestinians in history become excusable, acceptable, and necessary. Despite this film purporting to provide humanistic narratives of the Arab-Israeli conflict, they merely serve to render Palestinian deaths grievable only in so far as they create guilt on the part of their Israeli killers. In the case of Munich, the deaths of Palestinians are unmistakably political and they are contextualized in terms of the waging of the conflict and the search for peace. Munich obscures the actual face of Palestine and Palestinians, their legacy of resistance beyond terrorism and violence, and the historical roots of the Arab-Israeli conflict. Only by honestly engaging with the history and humanity of Israel and Palestine, and not glorifying death merely as an artistic exercise, will the medium of the film begin to contribute productively to a more accurate collective memory?

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How does the film Munich relate to the encoding and decoding theory and what is its effects on the perception of the Israeli / Palestinian conflict. (2018, May 30). GradesFixer. Retrieved December 6, 2022, from
“How does the film Munich relate to the encoding and decoding theory and what is its effects on the perception of the Israeli / Palestinian conflict.” GradesFixer, 30 May 2018,
How does the film Munich relate to the encoding and decoding theory and what is its effects on the perception of the Israeli / Palestinian conflict. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 6 Dec. 2022].
How does the film Munich relate to the encoding and decoding theory and what is its effects on the perception of the Israeli / Palestinian conflict [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2018 May 30 [cited 2022 Dec 6]. Available from:
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