Upcoming Historical Films
on Kingdom of Heaven
on "Kingdom of Heaven"
scholar charges Kingdom of Heaven "will cause hate crimes"
Egyptian actor defends the film
Jewish scholar weighs in on the Crusades and the film
magazine weighs in on Kingdom of Heaven
All the King's Men
The Great Raid
Kingdom of Heaven
Master and Commander
Memoirs of a Geisha
Passion of the Christ
Pirates of the Caribbean
Pride and Prejudice
Walk the Line
KINGDOM OF HEAVEN
(opening May 6, 2005)
of Heaven' trailer now available online
I'm looking forward to this one. Ridley Scott's (Gladiator,
Black Hawk Down) latest stars Orlando Bloom as a young widowed
blacksmith, who goes to Jerusalem as a Crusader in the 12th century
and ultimately helps defend Jerusalem against its Crusader and
Muslim attackers. Real historical figures are depicted, including
Balian of Ibelin, a Crusader knight who led the defense of Jerusalem
in 1187, and the Muslim leader Saladin.
Some think the film may end up creating a Passion-like controversy.
The New York Times somehow got a script (shades of The
Passion!) and showed it to a few historians and religious scholars.
The Times then ran a story on August 12, 2004 (reprinted
here) quoting the scholars' criticism of the script, particularly
its "offensive... replay of historic Hollywood stereotypes
of Arabs and Muslims."
More criticism: last January, the Calcutta Telegraph ran
a story (here's
the link) which also had scholars attacking the film (based
on another leaked script, evidently) calling the plot "rubbish",
"ridiculous", "complete fiction" and "dangerous
to Arab relations."
But, here's the odd thing. The two articles give contradictory
accounts of the film's portrayal of Muslims. Jonathan Riley-Smith,
Britains leading authority on the Crusades, charges (in the
January Calcutta piece) that Kingdom of Heaven is
"Osama bin Laden's version of history. It will fuel the Islamic
fundamentalists." Yet the New York Times quotes a professor
of Islamic law warning that the film will "teach people to
hate Muslims" by promoting vicious stereotypes.
Did they look at the same script?! Are the "stereotypes"
simply in the eye of the beholder? Or did Ridley Scott change the
script in response to the concerns raised by the Brits? And is the
New York Times doing
its best to create a controversy, as David Poland argues? And
by the way, who DOES leak these scripts? And why can't I ever get
one? Lots of questions...
It may not have happened in real life, but hey,
every historical epic needs a fictional love story, right.
Orlando Bloom looking bemused in the Holy Land