Saladin And Sir Ridley: Hollywood Does Holy War


Award-winning director of "Gladiator" brings the Crusades and an Arab hero to the screen in "Kingdom of Heaven," but does he get it right? Ramsay Short, Daily Star, 3/16/05 LONDON: "It is better to live in peace together than to perpetuate war. It sounds simple but we don't seem to be able to manage it today," Ridley Scott, who was knighted for his services to the British film industry in 2003, explains during an interview after a partial screening of his latest film in the VUE multiplex cinema in London's Leicester Square.

"That's what "Kingdom Of Heaven" is about, the journey of a boy becoming a man without ever losing his integrity." On the screen behind Scott, a vast column of Christian soldiers is on the march, the Knights Templar, about to do battle with the great Muslim army of Saladin in the Holy Land of the late 12th century. It is a magnificent sight but inevitably one which is likely to draw much comment in the days and weeks running up to the movie's release in May - and much comment after - not least because of the parallels with events in the Middle East today.

Then Frankish King of Jerusalem, Baldwin IV, did battle with Saracen leader Saladin, who led Muslim armies from Damascus. Today the Syrian capital is once again finding itself under fire from the West as well as from people in the region itself - not least from many Christian descendants of the Crusaders themselves in Lebanon and the born-again Christian, U.S. President George W. Bush…

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