[WATCH] Hijack film shot in Malta premieres in Berlin festival

7 days in Entebbe which was partly shot in Malta in 2016 opens at the Berlin film festival, questioning the heroic role of Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s brother in the spectacular 1976 Israeli commando raid to free hostages

7 days in Entebbe was partly shot in Malta in 2016
7 days in Entebbe was partly shot in Malta in 2016

The original film, Raid on Entebbe, recounting the daring Israeli commando raid to free hostages in Uganda had been banned in Malta when it was released in 1977.

Then prime minister Dom Mintoff had stopped its screening, arguing that the film glorified the violence of those who did not respect the integrity of an independent state.

But roll forward 39 years and another film recounting the same story was partly-filmed in Malta.

Now, that film, 7 days in Entebbe, has premiered at the Berlin film festival, providing a different version on the role played by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s brother in the famed commando raid.

Netanyahu’s elder brother, Yonatan, was the only Israeli commando to die in the raid to free hostages and the Israeli Prime Minister has always maintained his brother played a heroic role.
However, director Jose Padilha’s film tells a different story, depicting Yonatan Netanyahu in a less prominent role.

Addressing a press conference in Berlin on Monday, Padilha (of Narcos fame) said he relied on the version of events recounted to him by former Israeli commandos who were present for the raid.

“I prefer to rely on the version of people who were there rather than the version of people who were not there,” Padilha said.

The film chronicles the 1976 Israeli rescue mission of a hijacked Air France aircraft. The plane was en route to Paris from Tel Aviv when it was captured by two Palestinian and two German terrorists. It was rerouted to Uganda’s Entebbe airport, where dictator Idi Amin welcomed the hijackers.

All but four of the 106 hostages were rescued in a daring military operation that saw Israeli commandos land at the airport in Entebbe and leaving with the hostages.

The official version of events holds Yonatan Netanyahu as a hero who was killed by a terrorist at the end of the raid. But in Padilha’s film, Netanyahu plays a less significant role and is killed early on in the mission.

Parts of the film were shot in Malta, where Entebbe airport was recreated. Filming had to be temporarily suspended in December 2016 when a real-life hijack saw a Libyan aircraft being diverted to Malta.

The film features actors Daniel Bruhl and Rosamund Pike as the two German terrorists. The film will hit cinema screens in March.

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