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Cutting and Running from the (Medieval) Middle East: The Mises-hors-scène of Kingdom of Heaven’s Double DVDs

Cutting and Running from the (Medieval) Middle East: The Mises-hors-scène of Kingdom of Heaven’s Double DVDs

Cutting and Running from the (Medieval) Middle East: The Mises-hors-scène of Kingdom of Heaven’s Double DVDs

Richard Burt

15 | 2007 : Le Moyen Âge mis en scène : perspectives contemporaines

Abstract

“There is no escaping the parallels with our time, when leaders who try to make peace are admired, but their efforts are subverted by more radical factions. We set out to tell a terrific story from a supremely dramatic age – not to make a documentary or propagandize. But since our subject is the clash of these two civilizations, and we are now living in the post-9/11 world, Kingdom of Heaven will invariably be looked at from that perspective. (…) Hi, I’m Ridley Scott. I’m the director of Kingdom of Heaven. I think we could say this is the director’s cut in a phrase of being [sic] my favorite version. This isn’t just adding a couple of shots at the beginning, a couple of shots at the end, and doing a long, elongated version of a lot of entries and exits of scenes. This is organic characterization put back into the movie… There are some people who might argue as being [sic] too long or take too long to get there but I think you should see what it is [sic] and you judge for yourself.” ~ Ridley Scott

Recent work on the film epic has sought to explain it in relation to the history of U.S. imperialism. For example, in her book Epic Encounters: Culture, Media, and U.S. Interests in the Middle East, 1945-2000, U.S. Imperialism, Melani McAlister maintains that the Biblical film epic and the sword and sandals film epic were central to the development of U.S. foreign policy from 1946 to 1960 and that film epics such as Cecil B. De Mille’s The Ten Commandments (1956), Quo Vadis (dir. Mervyn LeRoy, 1951), and Ben Hur (dir. William Wyler, 1964) need to be read not just as anti-totalitarian but also as anti-colonial.3 The policy of the United State’s global “benevolent supremacy” depended on the U.S. not being regarded either by the rest of the world or by its own citizens as a traditional colonial power but instead as a leader open to all races and cultures. Foreign policy has a cultural component, McAlister observes, in which the film epic played a highly significant part, framing the “religious narratives in terms of contemporary politics”


Watch the video: Kingdom of Heaven: Directors Cut Review (August 2021).