Monday, May 02, 2005

“It sounds absolute balls. It's rubbish.”

Who here wouldn’t like to answer a question like that? The Brits has a way with their language. It started with LGF, but I have bounced all over the place about Ridley Scott’s new movie Kingdom of Heaven. In summary, trust your instincts on this one.

The above quote is from a 2004 article from The Telegraph by Professor Jonathan Riley-Smith, Britain's leading authority on the Crusades and Professor of Ecclesiastical History at Cambridge University. Post 911 and the absurd movie makeover of the otherwise superb Tom Clancy novel Sum of All Fears, I am suspicious of anything coming out of Hollywierd that even mildly involves anything near of about Islam or Mohammad – after all they just want world peace.

"It (KoH) sounds absolute balls. It's rubbish. It's not historically accurate at all. They refer to The Talisman, which depicts the Muslims as sophisticated and civilised, and the Crusaders are all brutes and barbarians. It has nothing to do with reality."
Prof Riley-Smith added: "Guy of Lusignan lost the Battle of Hattin against Saladin, yes, but he wasn't any badder or better than anyone else. There was never a confraternity of Muslims, Jews and Christians. That is utter nonsense."
Prof Riley-Smith added that Sir Ridley's efforts were misguided and pandered to Islamic fundamentalism. "It's Osama bin Laden's version of history. It will fuel the Islamic fundamentalists."

Amin Maalouf, the French historian and author of The Crusades Through Arab Eyes, said: "It does not do any good to distort history, even if you believe you are distorting it in a good way. Cruelty was not on one side but on all."
Sir Ridley's spokesman said that the film portrays the Arabs in a positive light. "It's trying to be fair and we hope that the Muslim world sees the rectification of history."

Try “historical revisionism” spokesman-woman-person. Dhimmi.
Wait, there is more. Did I mention that the German-American Bund…ummm…errrr..C.A.I.R. was given an advanced screening? Mmmmm, what did they think?
A prominent national Islamic civil rights and advocacy group said today that the new 20th Century Fox epic "Kingdom of Heaven" is a "balanced" portrayal of the Crusades, despite earlier concerns that the film might offer stereotypical portrayals of Islam or Muslims. … "Our overall impression is that 'Kingdom of Heaven' is a balanced and positive depiction of Islamic culture during the Crusades," said CAIR-LA Communications Director Sabiha Khan. "Muslims are shown as dignified and proud people whose lives are based on ethics and morality." Khan said one of the film's positive messages, that Muslims and Christians can live together in peace, will provide an opportunity for increased interfaith dialogue.

"It is unfortunately a rare occasion when a Muslim filmgoer can leave the theater feeling good about a movie's portrayal of Islam," said CAIR National Communications Coordinator Rabiah Ahmed, who also attended the Los Angeles screening.
Very nice. Why do I feel the script might not really be that balanced?
Ridley Scott: "I am trying to get across the fact that not everybody in the West is a good guy, & not all Muslims are bad."
As Zombietime notes, Mr. Scott should stop digging.

"My screenwriter Bill Monahan spent a lot of time consulting with Muslim historians and scholars of the time, not least because accuracy is so important in a historical film.

"Obviously, then, we were concerned with the character of Saladin and getting it right because he is such an important figure in Muslim culture."

So, Scott admits that the film essentially adopts the Muslim point of view, and also unwittingly reveals that he accepts the Romantic-era notion of Saladin as a hero -- a notion which almost everyone concurs was dreamt up by "orientalist" Europeans and only later adopted by Muslims.

The second quote is even more disturbing:
"You know I showed the final film to an important Muslim in New York and he loved it. He called it the best portrayal of Saladin he had seen," he [Scott] says.

Heck, even the NYT has issues.

A NY Times piece on the film notes "Muslims are portrayed as bent on coexistence until Christian extremists ruin everything." Coexistence: the First Crusade was launched in 1096. Prior to that, Muslims conquered Syria (635), Palestine (638), Persia (642), Eqypt (642), North Africa (642-698), Kabul (711), the Indus region (712), Samarkand (712), Spain (712), Toulouse (721), Kyrgyzstan (751, Chinese army defeated), & Armenia (1071).

Muslim expansion into Europe was only stopped when the French defeated them at Tours (732). Someone should tell French actress Eva Green, who says, "It's not like a stupid Hollywood movie. It's a movie with substance. I hope it will wake up people in America ... to be more tolerant, more open toward the Arab people."

The sad thing is, there is a real history to the Crusades; and it is worth a dozen movies. The Siege of Vienna, Battle of Lepanto and the Fall of Constantinople would be outstanding movies as well; though I wouldn’t trust Hollywierd to do it right. Shame.

Zombietime has the best all around wrap-up, and he ended his post with what seals the deal for me. I will not see the movie with cash out of my pocket. I’ll take a free ticket. I’ll take a pirated version. But my $$$ ain’t going that way.
As for the story's villains, the hawkish Knights Templar, Scott admits they "are what you might call the Right-wing or Christian fundamentalists of their day". He had no wish to celebrate the crusaders' cause, or to dress it up for Western audiences. "I try not to make pictures that do the whole ra-ra thing. The Christians lose. That's history."
Mr. Scott can practice his art as he wishes, but I don’t have to support him.

BTW, if you want some lefty fiction about the Crusades, read Evan S. Connell's Deus lo Volt. I enjoyed it, and you could even call it balanced.....but you know my perspective...

UPDATE: Great minds think alike. Bookworm is tilting at the same windmill. Good post.


Anonymous said...

I just want too take some time too Thank everyone for doing what you do and make this community great im a long time reader and first time poster so i just wanted to say thanks.

Anonymous said...

I would like too take time too thank the active members for doing what you do and making the community what it is im a long time reader and first time poster so i just wanted to say thanks.

Anonymous said...

good forum buddy keep it up. [url=]alfresco aps 30"[/url]

Anonymous said...

[url=]best rawlings glove[/url] you people are really good nice to be here

Anonymous said...

This is really good forum i love it a lot [url=]wenger swissgear[/url]

Anonymous said...

This is really good forum i love it a lot [url=]samsonite warranty registration[/url]

Anonymous said...

I like this forum :) [url=]lucas 31973[/url]

Anonymous said...

you people are really good nice to be here [url=]radio controlled lawn mowers[/url]

Anonymous said...

[url=]maxi cosi priori safety[/url] This is really good forum i love it a lot

Anonymous said...

[url=]cd paper shredders[/url] this forum has got good design keep it up.

Anonymous said...

This is really good forum i love it a lot [url=]kitchenaid kude70fvss dishwasher[/url]