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Kingdom of Heaven

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Author Topic: Kingdom of Heaven  (Read 505 times)
Jennifer O'Dell
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« on: May 28, 2007, 02:16:12 am »

In Search of the Real Balian
In Kingdom of Heaven, Sir Ridley Scott turns Balian of Ibelin into an agnostic, but what do we know of the Balian of history?
By Steven Gertz

I have to hand it to Sir Ridley Scott. He knows how to grab your attention. In the opening scenes of his epic Crusades movie Kingdom of Heaven, the young poor blacksmith Balian (played by Orlando Bloom) suddenly finds himself heir to a fief in the exotic East. His crusading father Godfrey (Liam Neeson), recently returned from the Holy Land to France, offers his illegitimate son Balian not only a chance to find forgiveness for his wife's suicide by going on crusade but also the hope of securing a new future as a noble in the Kingdom of Jerusalem. Balian hesitates at first but then takes the bait, and off he goes with Godfrey.

Fine and good as far as movie theatrics go, but was Balian a real person? How much of this is history and how much of this is Scott just spinning a good story? And how reliable is Scott as an interpreter of crusader motivations?

Balian did in fact play a crucial role as a Crusader noble in the events surrounding the fall of Jerusalem in 1187 to the Muslim sultan Saladin. But Balian never had to travel to the Holy Land—as he does in the movie—because he was already part of the nobility there. His father Balian the Old (not Godfrey) fathered three sons, Hugh, Baldwin, and Balian, all of whom were legitimate and recognized as such. Long before Saladin made his masterful invasion of the Holy Land, Balian and his elder brother Baldwin had established their reputations as competent members of Palestine's feudal nobility. Indeed, Balian was married to royalty even before the events Scott portrays—and he wasn't at all romantically involved with the princess Sybilla, sister to the king of Jerusalem. (Actually Balian's brother Baldwin was the one who had a love interest in Sybilla.)

In the movie, Balian's faith in God is in jeopardy. Scott has Balian questioning whether God even knows him—his search for forgiveness in Jerusalem ends in disappointment. But what little we know about Balian from historical records suggests he was indeed a pious Christian who took his faith quite seriously. According to one account from the 13th century Estoire d' Eracles (an old French translation and expansion of a 12th century Western chronicle of the Crusades), Balian was on his way to join forces with other crusaders when he realized it was a church feast day and stopped in town to take Mass. Rather than doing his military duty, he stayed overnight at the house of the bishop, talking all night with him. The visit actually cost the kingdom something, as Balian was not there to help his comrades prevent a military defeat.

Nor do Balian's actions following the fall of Jerusalem suggest a man who had lost his faith. Far from being disgusted with the Crusades and returning to France Balian retired to Beirut in Lebanon, which he proceeded to fortify against Muslim invasion. He was present at the signing of a truce with Saladin, which secured a measure of peace for the few Crusader cities still left. And his descendants continued to play important roles in the Crusader kingdoms of the 13th century.

That's not to say Balian was the epitome of piety. As a warrior, he could be ruthless if need called for it. Saladin's vow to kill the crusaders, their women, and children once he took Jerusalem drove Balian to an equally heartless solution. Muslim chronicler Ibn Al-Athir quotes Balian as such:

Know O Sultan, that there are very many of us in this city, God alone knows how many. At the moment we are fighting half-heartedly in the hope of saving our lives, hoping to be spared by you as you have spared others; this is because of our horror of death and our love of life. But if we see that death is inevitable, then by God we shall kill our children and our wives, burn our possessions, so as not to leave you with a dinar or a drachma or a single man or woman to enslave. When this is done, we shall pull down the Sanctuary of the Rock (today's Dome of the Rock) and the Masjid al-Aqsa and the other sacred places, slaughtering the Muslim prisoners we hold—5,000 of them—and killing every horse and animal we possess. Then we shall come out to fight you like men fighting for their lives, when each man, before he falls dead, kills his equals; we shall die with honor, or win a noble victory.
This hardly sounds like a Christian speaking. But Balian was also a crafty politician and probably hoped that such a threat would move Saladin to offer the crusaders more acceptable terms, as he in fact did. Saladin was less liberal than the movie makes him out to be—he demanded that each man, woman, and child in Jerusalem pay a ransom for his or her freedom, and consequently thousands of poor Christians faced the grim prospect of slavery. In an effort to avert this catastrophe, Balian paid out of his own purse Saladin's price for many who could not afford it.

Balian's story is in many ways a case study of crusader motives. As Bruce Shelley asked in his article in Christian History Issue 40, why did Christians go on crusade? Kingdom of Heaven would appear to suggest that crusaders went for land, wealth, and power even as they claimed to fight for the good of Christendom and the spread of Christianity. There may indeed be some truth to this claim, though as historian Thomas Madden points out, "the Crusades were notoriously bad for plunder."

The Balian of history suggests a more complicated picture, however. Here was a man well versed in the ways of war, and his possessions and livelihood were at stake in the conflict. Yet as the story from Estoire d' Eracles demonstrates, he placed great importance on the things of God, even to the detriment of the conflict at hand. And as the events following the fall of Jerusalem reveal, Balian at great personal sacrifice showered compassion on fellow Christians in dire need. Indeed, this kind of empathy is exactly what drove many crusaders to come to the Holy Land—it was in part the plea of the Byzantine emperor Alexios to Pope Urban II for help against belligerent Muslim Turks in 1095 that prompted the pope to call for the Crusades. In more than one way, the life of Balian helps us see the crusaders for what many of them they were—men of piety who felt the call of God on their lives even as they went to war.

Kingdom of Heaven has some serious problems—none the least Scott's portrayal of Balian. But if Scott provokes Christians to take a closer look at the men and women of faith in medieval Europe, he's done the public a service. Now I'm just waiting for a scholar to write the definitive biography of Balian of Ibelin.

For further reading:

Marshall Baldwin, ed, A History of the Crusades, Volume 1:TheFirst 100 Years (Univ of Wisconsin Press, 1969)

Francesco Gabrieli, ed. Arab Historians of the Crusades, (Univ of California Press, 1969). Baha ad-Din tells the story of Saladin conquering Jerusalem .

Regine Pernoud, The Crusades (Putnam, 1963). Pay special attention to the accounts of the fall of Jerusalem by Ibn al-Athir and Ambroise.

Jonathan Riley-Smith, Crusades: A Short History (Yale Univ. Press, 1987)

Jonathan Riley-Smith, Crusades: The feudal nobility and the kingdom of Jerusalem (Archon Books, 1973)

Steven Runciman, A History of the Crusades, Vol 2: The Kingdom of Jerusalem and the Frankish East: 1100-1187 (Cambridge, 1968)
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Jennifer O'Dell
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« Reply #1 on: May 28, 2007, 02:21:07 am »


Balian of Ibelin, a 12th century nobleman and crusader, and the protagonist of the 2005 movie Kingdom of Heaven
Other members of the Ibelin family; including Balian's father, also known as Barisan of Ibelin

Barisan of Ibelin

Barisan of Ibelin (died 1150) was an important figure in the crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem, and was the ancestor of the Ibelin family. His name was also pronounced as "Balian" and he is sometimes known as Balian the Elder or Balian I.

Barisan was probably from northern Italy, although nothing is known of his life before 1115, when he appears as constable of the County of Jaffa. Around 1122, his services were rewarded with a marriage to Helvis of Ramla, daughter of Baldwin I of Ramla. In 1134, when Hugh II of Le Puiset, count of Jaffa, rebelled against King Fulk, Barisan supported the king, and soon became prominent at Fulk's court. In 1141 he was named lord of the newly constructed castle of Ibelin, located in the county of Jaffa between Jaffa itself and the fortress of Ascalon, which was at this point still controlled by Fatimid Egypt. In 1148 Barisan inherited the nearby lordship of Ramla, through his wife Helvis. That year, Barisan was also present at the council convened at Acre after the arrival of the Second Crusade, at which it was decided to attack Damascus (see Siege of Damascus).

With Helvis, Barisan was the father of Hugh, Baldwin, Barisan, Ermengarde, and Stephanie. The younger Barisan came to be known strictly as Balian, or Balian the Younger. Barisan died in 1150 and Ibelin was inherited by Hugh. Helvis then married Manasses of Hierges, constable of Jerusalem.

William of Tyre, A History of Deeds Done Beyond the Sea. E. A. Babcock and A. C. Krey, trans. Columbia University Press, 1943.
Peter W. Edbury, John of Ibelin and the Kingdom of Jerusalem. Boydell Press, 1997.
Steven Runciman, A History of the Crusades, vol. II: The Kingdom of Jerusalem. Cambridge University Press, 1952.
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Jennifer O'Dell
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« Reply #2 on: May 28, 2007, 02:24:30 am »

King Baldwin IV Of Jerusalem
Wednesday September 28, 7:00 pm ET
Doug Tsuruoka

The greatest of the Christian kings to rule Jerusalem during the Crusades began life as a hapless boy, who to all appearances, should never have ruled at all.
He was Baldwin IV, the so-called Leper King of Jerusalem. A stammerer as a young child, he contracted leprosy when he was 9. He was 13 in 1174 when his father died and Baldwin was crowned as his successor in the city's Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

Historians marvel that Baldwin, for a time, overcame his sickness to become a wise and able ruler. He also proved an ace strategist who scored some of the kingdom's biggest triumphs against Saladin, the Saracen leader who had vowed to drive the Crusaders from the Holy Land.

It wasn't just Crusaders who admired Baldwin: he also won Saladin's respect with his strength of character. During Baldwin's reign, the two signed a truce that ushered in a rare period of peace before it fell apart.

A scion of one of France's royal families, Baldwin was descended from the Frankish knights who created a small kingdom after capturing Jerusalem in 1099 during the First Crusade.

French chroniclers say Baldwin had bright eyes, an aquiline nose and blond hair that reached to his shoulders. He also had a thunderous laugh that was filled with life despite the incurable disease that was ravaging his body.

The kingdom's affairs couldn't have been worse when Baldwin took the throne. It was besieged on all sides by Muslim armies that were retaking the forts and cities won by the Crusaders a generation before.

Crowning a sickly boy at a time like this struck some as folly. But Baldwin proved to be the right man at the right time.

"He was the bravest, the most intelligent, the most understanding of the kings of Jerusalem ... he was kindly and solicitous toward others, he understood exactly what was demanded of him, and he was learned about all the affairs of the Levant, but what was most important about him during his brief reign was a certain style, a way of looking at life with eagerness and grace," wrote Robert Payne in his famous work on the Crusades, "The Dream And The Tomb."

What stood out about Baldwin was his realization from an early age that his life would be cut short by leprosy. As such, he wanted to make every moment count. He also seemed to know that he held the kingdom's fate in his hands.

His illness had been discovered when he was playing with a group of young boys. They were pinching each other's arms and legs to see who could bear the pain the longest. But when they pinched Baldwin, he felt no pain. People thought that odd.

Medical books were checked and the young prince was found to be suffering from early-stage leprosy.

Inner Strength

News of this sort would have crushed most children. But with Baldwin it had the opposite effect. He fought his disease, taking all the medicines against leprosy then known to science. Little could be done to halt it. But he had an inner strength that allowed him to bear his illness without complaint.

He resolved to make the best of the cruel cards fate had handed him. And when Baldwin fixed on a goal, nothing could stop him.

He acted as if he were healthy. He practiced his riding skills until he became an expert horseman. He mastered the use of the sword while still in his teens. And he absorbed the wisdom he heard from some of the finest minds of his day.

One of his tutors was the historian William of Tyre, who schooled him in letters and religion. Baldwin took both seriously and practiced them daily, becoming both an avid reader of Plato and a pious Christian.

The sincerity with which he embraced his faith made Baldwin a bit of an anomaly in a time when Crusaders and Saracens killed each other without pity. He was a foe of Islam, dedicated to defending Christian rule. But he committed none of the atrocities of earlier rulers.

Baldwin's stuttering had an unusual effect: it made him focus intensively on being well-spoken. He practiced little word games with his tutors to keep his stammering under control. And he learned to measure his words carefully. Payne says he did this "because he wanted to think carefully before he spoke, knowing that as a king his words would have special significance."

Trade flourished under Baldwin. He knew that vibrant bazaars and seaports kept the kingdom strong. And he was a chivalrous man deeply concerned with the welfare of his subjects. He often dispensed bread and other aid in hard times.

As a soldier, Baldwin had a contrarian approach to war: He turned disadvantage into advantage.

The heavy armor used by the Crusaders had vexed them in the searing heat of the Holy Land. The Muslims used lighter armor well-suited to the local climate.

But Baldwin knew that lightly armed soldiers were vulnerable to heavy cavalry armed with lances. He also knew a few well-trained knights could prevail against a numerically superior foe if the right tactics were used.

Baldwin used these points with good effect at Ramleh in 1177 when he won his greatest victory.

He personally led a charge of 200 Knights Templar against a much larger Muslim force. His attack cut Saladin's army in two and caused it to flee in wild disorder.

Baldwin was just 17 years old at the time, half-blind and wasted by leprosy. He refused to give in to his illness, however: He eagerly entered into other fights against Saladin, buying time for his beleaguered kingdom.

Integrity And Honor

Baldwin proved as skillful in peace as he was in war. Treachery often marred the treaties made by both sides in the Crusades. But Baldwin sealed a truce with Saladin and kept it. The Muslims also put aside their swords because they knew Baldwin was an honorable man.

When a famine struck, Baldwin sent food to Saladin and re-opened trade between Christian and Muslim towns in a gesture of peace.

He had no male heirs and spent his last days selecting a successor from among his quarreling relatives.

Baldwin was only 24 and completely blind when he died in 1185.

He was regal to the end. "When his face and features were no longer recognizable, when there came from him only halting whispers, and when he was carried on a litter because he could no longer walk, he was braver than any of his knights and more intelligent than any of his advisers," Payne wrote.

A renegade Crusader named Reynald of Chatillon broke the truce just before Baldwin died by seizing a Muslim caravan. Saladin retaliated and Jerusalem fell to his army in 1187.
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Jennifer O'Dell
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« Reply #3 on: May 28, 2007, 02:29:15 am »

Baldwin IV of Jerusalem

Political manoeuvering

Baldwin spent his youth in his father's court in Jerusalem, having little contact with his mother, the countess Agnes of Courtenay. Baldwin IV was educated by the historian William of Tyre, who discovered that the boy was a leper. Baldwin came to the throne at the age of thirteen. In his minority the kingdom was ruled by two successive regents, first Miles of Plancy, though unofficially, and then Raymond III of Tripoli. As a leper, Baldwin was not expected to reign long or even produce an heir, and courtiers and lords positioned themselves for influence over Baldwin's heirs, his sister princess Sibylla and his half-sister princess Isabella. Sibylla was being raised by her great-aunt, Ioveta (the youngest sister of former Queen Melisende), in the convent of Bethany, and Isabella was in the court of her mother, the dowager queen Maria Comnena, in Nablus.

In his capacity as regent, Raymond of Tripoli had the princess Sibylla married to William of Montferrat in autumn 1176. William was also created Count of Jaffa and Ascalon. However, William died the following June, leaving the widowed Sibylla pregnant with the future Baldwin V.

It was in this year that the king's distant cousin, Philip of Flanders, came to Jerusalem on crusade. Philip demanded to wed Baldwin's sisters to his vassals. Philip, as Baldwin's closest male kin on his paternal side (he was Fulk's grandson and thus Baldwin's first cousin; Raymond was Melisende's nephew and thus first cousin of Baldwin's father), claimed authority superseding Raymond's regency. The Haute Cour refused to agree to this, with Baldwin of Ibelin publicly insulting Philip. Offended, Philip left the kingdom, campaigning instead for Antioch. The Ibelin family were patrons of the dowager queen Maria, and historian Bernard Hamilton suggests that Baldwin of Ibelin acted this way in hopes of marrying one of Baldwin's sisters himself.

Baldwin's rule

Baldwin reached majority later that same year, and Raymond of Tripoli stepped down. Disadvantaged, young Baldwin had few male relatives to whom royal power could be delegated. The king turned to his mother and her brother, Joscelin III, the titular count of Edessa. Agnes, growing in influence both at court and over her son and her daughter, Sibylla, had Baldwin appoint Joscelin as seneschal.

In 1177 Baldwin IV allowed his step-mother the dowager-queen to marry Balian of Ibelin. This was a dangerous alliance, allowing Maria to marry into the ambitious Ibelin family. With Maria's patronage, the Ibelins tried to have the princesses Sibylla and Isabella married into their family as well.

Later in 1177, Baldwin and Raynald of Chatillon (the former prince of Antioch through marriage to Constance of Antioch) defeated Saladin at the Battle of Montgisard. In 1176 Raynald had been released from captivity in Aleppo, and later Baldwin created him lord of Kerak, a fortress to the east of the Dead Sea.

In the summer of 1180, Agnes had Baldwin IV marry Sibylla to Guy of Lusignan, brother of the constable Amalric of Lusignan. Guy had previously allied himself with Raynald, who was by now taking advantage of his position at Kerak to harass the trading caravans travelling between Egypt and Damascus. After Saladin retaliated for these attacks in 1182, Baldwin appointed Guy regent of the kingdom.

By this arrangement Agnes's influence in the kingdom was at its height. She held direct influence over her son the king, over her son's heir Sibylla, and Guy of Lusignan owed his advancement directly to her. Additionally, Agnes also had Baldwin marry the eight-year-old princess Isabella to Humphrey IV of Toron, an ally to Agnes, thus neutralizing the Ibelin-Maria faction.

In 1183, Baldwin had become offended by Guy's actions as regent. Guy attended the wedding festivities for Isabella and Humphrey, held in Kerak. However, the festivities were interrupted by Saladin, who besieged the fortress with the wedding guests inside. Baldwin marshalled what strength he had and lifted the siege, but Guy refused to fight Saladin and Saladin's troops simply went home. Baldwin could not tolerate this and deposed Guy as regent. In disgrace, Guy retired to Ascalon, taking his wife the princess Sibylla with him.

Failing health and death
According to Hamilton, there was no evidence to suggest princess Sibylla was herself disgraced by her second husband's actions, or even held in disfavour by the king, but in the early months of 1184 Baldwin attempted to have the marriage between Sibylla and Guy annulled. The couple had foiled this attempt by holding fast in Ascalon, not attending the annullment proceedings. Failing to pry his sister away from Guy, Baldwin appointed his nephew as heir and successor, with the support of Agnes, Raymond, and many of the other barons, excluding Sibylla from the succession. Raymond was to act as guardian of the infant heir, and later as regent if Baldwin IV was to expire, but Baldwin IV himself would continue to rule with Agnes herself as his advisor.

The military expedition to relieve Kerak and the dynastic struggle had weakened Baldwin considerably. He died in 1185, probably soon after the death of his mother Agnes, who had retired to Acre early in 1184. Though often suffering from the effects of leprosy and ruling with regency governments, Baldwin was able to maintain himself as king for much longer than otherwise might have been expected. As had been decided, Baldwin V succeeded his uncle, with Raymond of Tripoli as regent.

Baldwin is played by Edward Norton in the 2005 movie Kingdom of Heaven. Although largely fictionalised, this portrayal nevertheless succeeds in conveying his remarkable physical courage and his dedication to his kingdom.
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Jennifer O'Dell
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« Reply #4 on: May 28, 2007, 02:32:26 am »

Sleepless knights
By Alan Riding
May 8, 2005

Balian (Orlando Bloom, center, with sword raised) and Almaric (Velibor Topic, to Bloom 's left) lead the charge into battle in the film Kingdom of Heaven.
Photo: Supplied

Is it a good idea to make a Hollywood blockbuster right now about Christians fighting Muslims? Director Ridley Scott tells Alan Riding it's the perfect time to retell the story of the Crusades.

Ridley Scott's new blockbuster, Kingdom of Heaven, could hardly be more topical. It shows Muslims resisting Christian invaders, battles raging in wind-whipped deserts, ancient cities under siege and civilians cowering. It even shows prisoners decapitated for their beliefs.

OK, so all this screen mayhem is meant to be happening more than eight centuries ago, but doesn't it sound like recent news from Iraq?

Well, the movie is not meant to show that Christians and Muslims have been at one another's throats for centuries. Rather, by dwelling on the extended, turbulent holy war known as the Crusades, Scott said he hoped to demonstrate that Christians, Muslims and Jews could live together in harmony - if only fanaticism were kept at bay.

To that end, for all the furious battle scenes in Kingdom of Heaven, Scott and his screenwriter, William Monahan, have tried to be balanced. Muslims are portrayed as bent on coexistence until Christian extremists ruin everything. And even when the Christians are defeated, the Muslims give them safe conduct to return to Europe.

Advertisement"It's actually about doing the right thing," said Scott, 67, an Englishman whose screen combat experience also includes directing 1492: Conquest of Paradise, Black Hawk Down and Gladiator. "I know that sounds incredibly simplistic. It's about temptation and avoiding temptation. It's about ethics. It's about going to war over passion and idealism. Idealism is great if it's balanced and humanitarian."

If so, the Crusaders got a few things wrong. From 638, when Muslims first occupied Jerusalem, both Christians and Jews were permitted to visit their holy sites. Then, in 1095, responding to an appeal from the Byzantine Christian Church in Constantinople, Pope Urban II organised the First Crusade to liberate Jerusalem. Four years later, those crusaders seized the city, massacring almost all its inhabitants in a bloodbath invoked to this day.

Seven more crusades were waged, bringing European monarchs, lords, knights and their armies of devout followers to fight - and settle - in an area stretching between what is today Syria and Egypt. The Muslims responded with their own sporadic jihads until finally, by 1291, the Christians had been driven out.

It's hard not to wonder, is this really a good time to show warring Christians and Muslims as entertainment?

"I think it's the perfect time for the movie, because it doesn't paint one side or other as being the goodies or the baddies," insisted Jeremy Irons, one of several well-known actors who appear here as crusaders. "It just shows human nature getting in the way of possible peaceful coexistence. I don't think it will anger either side. I think it will make both sides think."

Of course, the backers of Kingdom of Heaven, 20th Century Fox, are hardly in the business of offering $140 million lessons in history and morality. The movie focuses on a particularly dramatic moment between the Second and Third Crusades, when the Muslims retook Jerusalem. This real history is wrapped in a fictional love story and presented as a rich spectacle of costumes, horses, swords and endless desert.

The facts are that during a period of relative peace, Baldwin IV, the young king of Jerusalem, again opened the city to all faiths. But after his death in 1185, militant Knights Templar began attacking Muslim desert convoys. In response, the legendary Muslim warrior Saladin, leading an army of 200,000, laid siege to Jerusalem. Balian of Ibelin, the Christian knight who surrendered the city on October 2, 1187, is the movie's hero.

Little is known about the real Balian. Played by the British actor Orlando Bloom (Black Hawk Down, Lord of the Rings and Pirates of the Caribbean), Balian becomes handsome, loyal, brave and the perfect match for King Baldwin's stunning sister, Sybilla, played by France's Eva Green (The Dreamers).

Their clandestine love blossoms, but everything else soon falls apart. In the final confrontation with Saladin, played with Saracen majesty by the veteran Syrian actor Ghassan Massoud, Balian gives up, as huge boulders and balls of fire batter the walls of Jerusalem.

"He ultimately surrenders Jerusalem to Saladin to save the lives of the people," said Bloom, 28. "The conduct of the knight is: Be brave that God may help thee; speak the truth even if it leads to your death; and safeguard the helpless. That is the oath, and he follows it to the bitter end."

Scott, for one, would subscribe to those elevated sentiments. In fact, he said in an interview at Shepperton Studios outside London, what led him to make Kingdom of Heaven was his fascination with the medieval knight, awakened decades ago by the movies of Akira Kurosawa and Ingmar Bergman. "What really interested me was something that seems to have disappeared from our vocabulary, which is the notion of grace and chivalry," he said. "Then, after I had finished Black Hawk Down, I met Bill Monahan to discuss another project, and I asked him if he knew anything about knights. He said the Crusades were his pet subject." By the time the screenplay was ready, the United States had invaded Iraq, but Scott was less consumed by politics than by the movie's complexity. In Spain, he used a medieval castle and the Moorish architecture of Seville, and in Morocco he filmed at the fortress port of Essaouira and in studios at Ouarzazate, in the Atlas Mountains. Near the studios, the production built ramparts 366 metres long and 17 metres high to represent Jerusalem.

With the approval of King Mohammed VI of Morocco, Scott also hired 1500 Moroccan soldiers as extras. In the movie, they are multiplied by computer. For the siege of Jerusalem, 15.4-tonne assault towers and huge catapults were digitally reproduced.

Having spent five months on location, working from a 260-page screenplay (almost twice the usual length), Scott ended up with a movie of three hours 40 minutes. This version will survive on DVD, but for general release he cut the film to two hours 22 minutes.

"We were constantly cutting," Irons said after seeing the theatre version, "but I was decently surprised by how much texture there still is. It's difficult for all of us to really provide texture. But nowadays people want lots of fighting and a love story, and I think Ridley found a very good balance."

Still, there is a political message, one that Green, 24, interpreted with characteristic French directness. "It's not like a stupid Hollywood movie," she said by telephone from Los Angeles. "It's a movie with substance. It's very clever and brave, and I hope it will wake up people in America."

To what? "To be more tolerant, more open towards the Arab people," she said. Well, it wasn't exactly what Scott had in mind, but why not?

- New York Times
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Jennifer O'Dell
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« Reply #5 on: May 28, 2007, 02:36:07 am »

« Last Edit: May 28, 2007, 02:42:05 am by Jennifer O'Dell » Report Spam   Logged
Jennifer O'Dell
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« Reply #6 on: May 28, 2007, 02:39:37 am »

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Jennifer O'Dell
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« Reply #7 on: May 28, 2007, 02:45:40 am »

Anyone ever see that movie, "Kingdom of Heaven?" Very good movie, all about when the Muslims took back Jerusalem. Orlando Bloom is the best.

I feel sorry for the Muslims that got killed when they first took Jersalem. And I feel sorry for all the Christians that went to live there, and all the knights that died defending it.

What a miserable experience for everyone involved...
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