Monday, December 20, 2004

The best -- misrepresentation of history

On Oliver Stone's "Alexander"
M.A.R.November 29, 2004iranian.com
When I heard that Oliver Stone had directed a movie about the life of Alexander, I was thrilled and couldn't wait to watch it. In fact, I went to the very first screening in Canada, last Wednesday.
The first hour was fairly boring. Eventually after about an hour and a half we see the most important and historic battle of Alexander with the Persians. Interestingly enough, as usual in Hollywood, the Iranians spoke Arabic, and they were all shorter than the average human being.
After watching the Iranians fight with their Arab swords in Arab garb, and loosing the war to the heroic Greeks, who were obviously fighting for the freedom of the Persian people, I was fascinated to see inhabitants of Babylon in the streets cheering their loss to the Greeks, and happily welcoming their enemy.
In Oliver Stone's eyes, Westerners own the whole world and if you're not one of them, then you're too dumb to tell the difference between your king and some other guy who doesn't even look like him. Even if you do realize the difference, you're still happy to welcome the new guy, because the Persian king was definitely a cruel leader, as oppose to Alexander who was the nicest king ever.
It's funny how Americans seem to portray the world of 323 B.C. like today's. They wonder why the majority of the world's population is not really in favor of them and blame Islamic fundamentalism, jealousy and "stupid European snobs" for their unpopularity.
I'm no fan of Islamic fundamentalism or Europeans, but I can see why the people of the world aren't very fond of Americans. They showed Persians, the ancestors of today's Iranians, as violent, backward, and primitive people
Just because Iran is being led by a bunch of backward, primitive radical Muslims today, that doesn't mean that this ancient country has always been led by primitive people. The Persian culture is richer than that of any Western country and it rivals the most ancient civilizations such as China and Egypt.
After the loss of the Persian army, as the great historians of east and west tell us, Alexander went to Susa and Persepolis and conquered and looted those cities. The burnt remains of Persepolis still stand in the Fars desert in south-central Iran. None of those facts were mentioned in the movie.
At the end of the day, the movie to some extent, harmed the credibility and greatness of Alexander; for if the Persians were a bunch of foolish, evil, disorganized barbarians, almost anybody could've defeated them.
Everything said, the best part of the movie was Alexander's marriage to a Persian. According to Stone, Alexander's wife comes from somewhere in today's Turkmenistan or Kazakhstan, and yet she was played by a black woman. Funny or tragic, I don't know, you be the judge. Blacks have never lived in that area, but historical and geographical facts did not interest Stone.
As one of my friends said, this movie was a typical Hollywood movie, and the main goal was to get a hot actress and actor on the screen and do injustice to history right and left. Stone probably thought that since Americans are clueless about history and the world, there's no need to reflect the truth.
I found Alexander to be a very confusing movie. It was blurry about many historic events, and it left many stories untold. This movie is very insulting to me and to those who have a brain, read history, and separate fact from fiction.
adapted by courtesy from: www.persiancultures.com

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