Beslan school siege film gains director
Oliver Hirschbeigel, Das Experiment and Der Untergang (Downfall), that's all that needs to be said about the director, although we could mention the all star upcoming Body Snatchers remake The Invasion but I fear it might not be on a par with these other films. Now that Invasion is almost over he's attached to another film, and he's returning to the controversal arena with the film of the true events of the primary school seige in Beslan, Russia by Chechen rebels.
He certainly is hitting the controversial topics, but seeing the two German films I mentioned above you'd understand that he's really well suited to adapt them for the big screen. He can address controversial, sensitive and deeply emotional stories in a very striking manner.
The film will be called The School and takes its roots from an article in Esquire magazine, an exceprt of which I carried in the previous story about the films announcement. The screenplay is written by Braulio Mantovani who is probably most noted for writing City of God.
According to Empire, who carry the story, the writer and director want to shoot the film in Russian and use local actors and extras.
The statement they carry from the writer has obviously lost a lot in translation, but it implies that the focus of the film will be the events inside the school, the interactions amongst the hostages and attackers, their actions and motivations, and the events before the disasterous final moments of the seige.
Reading that and understanding what the script is going to focus on now makes it an ideal story for Hirschbeigel to direct. It seems that there's been really careful match of writer and director, and now we can wait for a harrowing but extremely insightful film.
For those who can't remember the events of the day, over one thousand hostages were taken on the first day of school in Beslan's primary. A Chechen terrorist group armed with guns and explosives siezed control of the school and kept the hostages, mainly children, within the school. Russian troops laid seige to the building for three days, televised around the world. On the third day the Russian troops took the building, resulting in the deaths of three hundred and forty four civilians, with one hundred and eighty six injured, many of them children.
Indeed the film will be controversial and I think as harrowing to watch as Paul Greengrass' United 93 (Filmstalker review), but it is a film that should be made and I can think of no two better filmmakers to bring it to us.