7 Days in Entebbe director José Padilha says that his terror thriller starring Rosamund Pike and Daniel Brühl, which tells the story of the 1976 hijacking of an Air France flight from Tel Aviv, shines a light on similar political issues still prevalent in a Donald Trump presidency.
Speaking at the Berlin Film Festival, Padilha said that fear still dominates, as it did in the Middle East in the late 1970s.
7 Days in Entebbe tells the story of the hijackers, two of whom were members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and two were German members of the left-wing extremist group Revolutionary Cells, who held more than a hundred hostages — many of which were Israelis — for a week. They demanded the release of 40 imprisoned Palestinian terrorists and combatants, and the movie tells what happened after the aircraft landed in Entebbe, where the hijackers were supported by Ugandan dictator Idi Amin.
Said Padilha, who directed the 2014 Robocop remake: “In this recurrent conflict, it’s very easy for politicians to present themselves as protecting people against the enemy. But once you frame the relationship as enemies, it becomes hard to negotiate, and that’s still true today. There is a constant state of fear in both Israeli and Palestinian populations because of the conflict, and this fear is preyed upon by right-wing politicians — kind of like Trump who is going to build a wall to defend American from whomever, I don’t know.”
The movie, written by Gregory Burke, features a number of actors speaking multiple languages including English and German, a slightly controversial move, according to Padilha, who added that they actually shot many of the scenes twice — once in English and once in German. “There’s only so much you can get away with in the studio system,” he said. “The less English you have in your movie, the less marketable it is.”
7 Days in Entebbe is produced by Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Kate Solomon, Michelle Wright and Ron Halpern for Participant Media and Working Title Films. Lionsgate is selling worldwide and Focus Features is releasing it March 16 in the U.S.