Hypocrisy

Discuss the culture of Alexander's world and his image in art

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amyntoros
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Post by amyntoros »

Semiramis wrote:
Efstathios wrote:I hope not like he was dressed in this movie :P

This movie is not to be seen as a historical representation. Just as an enjoyable epic movie. It has symbolisms. Which are obvious. The ephors, the orc like soldiers, and all that, i think are good representations of the feeling you get for each person. Of course the Iranian people may dissagree, and they have a point.

But anyway, it was a good movie.
Efstathios, your post piqued my interest, so I had to check it out on IMDB. Gawd! He looked quite suited to play a Persian in the movie I saw him in, where he plays a Spanish guy I think. But... em... Whats up with the dark make up and girlie jewellery? So now he's swarthy and effeminate... Please tell me he's not gay as well. That would just complete the trifecta of the "Other"... :twisted:
There's no specific reference to being gay/effeminate outside of the ridiculous costume, but there IS an implied "sexual degeneracy" about the Persians (as there is also for the Ephors who we're again not meant to like). When you get the DVD you will see that in the harem scene there is not only a transvestite but a concubine who has no arms! This is certainly not the only time that the movie equates physical deformity with degeneracy and corruption (which I found most distasteful), although in other places it is far more obvious.

Am posting this response rather late because I was reminded of your post whilst reading another recent BMCR review – this time on Spartacus: Film and History The part that caught my attention is this:
Tatum's article ('The character of Marcus Licinius Crassus') is a refreshing shift from the focus of Kirk Douglas' character to that played by the glamorous Laurence Olivier. As he points out, the character in the film is not that found in the pages of Plutarch or Howard Fast, but one could argue that nevertheless the film is faithful to Plutarch in a broader way, since Crassus' function is to be the main contrast with Spartacus. ('Crassus' character, although animated by Laurence Olivier's compelling performance, is, in the end, simply Spartacus reversed', p. 142). With his English accent and bisexuality, Crassus represented degeneration and helped audiences, at least in the US, know where their sympathies should lie.
My first thought was to flippantly comment that there's nothing new under the sun when it comes to Hollywood, but I think the greater concern is that in letting audiences "know where their sympathies should lie" either Hollywood believes audience perceptions of what it means to be degenerate haven't changed in almost fifty years ... or worse, that they really haven't.

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Amyntoros

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Paralus
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Post by Paralus »

Indeed Amyntoros. Audiences, you see, are both so dumb and so credulous to have to have their sympathies directed for them.

300 was a spectacularly poor film.
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Wicked men, you sin against your fathers, who conquered the whole world under Philip and Alexander.

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Post by Semiramis »

amyntoros wrote:Am posting this response rather late because I was reminded of your post whilst reading another recent BMCR review – this time on Spartacus: Film and History The part that caught my attention is this:
Tatum's article ('The character of Marcus Licinius Crassus') is a refreshing shift from the focus of Kirk Douglas' character to that played by the glamorous Laurence Olivier. As he points out, the character in the film is not that found in the pages of Plutarch or Howard Fast, but one could argue that nevertheless the film is faithful to Plutarch in a broader way, since Crassus' function is to be the main contrast with Spartacus. ('Crassus' character, although animated by Laurence Olivier's compelling performance, is, in the end, simply Spartacus reversed', p. 142). With his English accent and bisexuality, Crassus represented degeneration and helped audiences, at least in the US, know where their sympathies should lie.

************If you haven’t watched ‘Spartacus’ yet and don’t want spoilers, please don’t read!*******************


Hi Amyntoros,

I have to disagree with the reviewer about sex in Spartacus. IMHO, in the movie, it wasn’t the bisexuality (the famous oysters and snails line) of Senator Crassus that made him perverse. It was the fact that both the people he is implied to have sex with in the movie – one female and one male (Antonius) – were slaves of his. Sex was just another piece of entertainment for him, his slaves another possession to be enjoyed. The perverse thing about the scene displaying his bisexuality is not that there are two males involved, but the power structure of the slavery system, where Antonius has absolutely no option to say no.

I felt that Crassus’ English accent was a way to signal that he belongs to the upper class in the powerful Roman Empire. The Good Guys had working class American accents. The obvious parallels of the Spartacus story to the Ameirican Revolutionary War could not be missed. Hence, I don't really view the English accent as something that was there solely to bank on xenophobic sentiment to have the viewer dislike him.

The main theme of the movie seemed to be the dehumanization of slaves, with their sexual status often referred to in order to illustrate the point. I recall a scene where the wives of some wealthy senators eye up the new crop of gladiators to assess them sexually. The women’s personal slaves are also laughingly discussed in similar terms. The scene is a parallel to the scene the reviewer mentions, because again, to the women, these slave men are nothing but sex objects whose own desires or consent isn’t even a matter that enters their minds.

There’s also the famous scene where Spartacus is offered the slave girl Varinia as a reward and refuses to rape her as expected and shouts through the bars “We are not animals!”

After they escape, Spartacus and Varinia are later shown to be in love and have a child out of their relationship, in stark contrast to what usually happened to slave women and men in terms of relationship and sex. There is a scene of Varinia reassuring Spartacus that it is all right to make love to her despite her pregnancy.

The relationship between Spartacus and the Antonius mentioned previously has way too many homoerotic overtones for the movie to suggest bisexuality/homosexuality is “perverse”. The bond between these two characters is a central theme to the movie that is glorified right to the end.

Spartacus was simply a brilliant historical film, IMHO, with very few faults (setting aside the small matter of historical accuracy ;)).

As for Hollywood’s reliance on physiogamy – deformities, scars, dark skin, foreign accents etc. – as a marker of “evil”, I couldn’t agree with you more Amyntoros. It’s not only objectionable, it’s patronizing.

Take care :)
jasonxx

Post by jasonxx »

No matter how politically correct the guys seem to be here. All the fuddy duddy we shouldnt watch this or that and dismiss something as horribly distorted.

Guys here want fluff excuses and reasoning.

war is war and its the dirtyest buseness on the block a little more honest than politics I would say.

lOVE IT OR LOATYH IT. 300 is a good representation of what war really is. And for all those readiong and studying Alexander and admiring him it must be remembered he was as good at war as anyone. he killed conquered and ruled not with flowers. With swords Spears and all other killing tools. If the pacifists and denials saw the wood from the trees it would basically say human nature is basically in one form or another 300.

maybe people dismiss and insult it with the hope of utopia and to call it bad maybe makes us better than that. If we are then why would we read Alexander watch war movies relish ever more violent battle scenes .

For those who think war is any differect to 300 then Id say they live in denial.war is soldiers been led and perhaps brainwashed to massacre some one else for the elite personal wealth.

I would hope if ever society colapsed to such an extent we would need to fight or be protected by warriors thank got the Porthonian excusist wouldnt be in the ranks wed be slaughtered for turning the cheak.
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Post by amyntoros »

This debate cannot be simplified as a pacifists versus proponents of war discussion. Nothing is that straightforward and everyone's personal opinions are valid and don't need to be given a label and then dismissed accordingly. Some of us were talking about various aspects of the movie and not just discussing the nature of war, of which I think we’re ALL fully aware. However, we’re also familiar with the perception of "the Other" in war. In real life it is the function of propaganda to promote and enhance this perception. My objections to the movie – and I’m allowed to have objections – is that the director/writer's portrayal of the "defenders" versus the "enemy" is excessively propagandist. Beautiful is good – ugly is evil. Physical perfection is good – deformity is evil. (Not to mention what some might argue are "unavoidable" racial overtones!)

Let me put it another way. Imagine if a Hollywood director should make a movie about Alexander's Invasion of India and uses an almost identical portrait of the Macedonians as villains, telling the story in the same way… Alexander dressed the same and with the same attitude as Xerxes... Macedonians as Orcs... huge deformed monsters let loose on the battlefield. .. Alexander giving out sexual favors as rewards… no honor, no sense of achievement, no personal glory or redemption on Alexander’s side; just brutality, extreme ugliness, horror and villainy. If (as you said) "those who think war is any differect to 300 then Id say they live in denial." then this same portrayal of war and the conquering enemy would be quite valid in such a movie. Alexander, after all, was in the business of conquering the lands of the Indians just the same as Xerxes in Greece. If 300 is "a good representation of what war really is" then it would be an equally good accounting of Alexander in India. Instead of the Spartans at the pass, it could end with a portrayal of those Indians who defended their city to the last man and died trying. How about the Malians, but with the story told from their point of view? Would you be as enthusiastic about this Alexander movie as you are about 300? If you say "Yes," it would surprise me because you have given no indication that you view Alexander and his army as ugly, corrupt, degenerate, unredeemable and out-and-out evil. If you say "No," then would that make you a "Pothosian excusist"?

Best regards,

____________
Amyntoros

PS to Semiramis: Yes, I do see your point. I think the reviewer of the Spartacus movie might be unaware of what is/was known as the Celluloid closet. :)
jasonxx

Post by jasonxx »

Not excusis at all. I am fully aware Alexander. And the Invaders were brutal viscious decedant etc. The Macedonian Royal family and Hierarchy is full of intrigue murders and back stabbing.

I would far more accept an Indian point of view from there perspective. As they got it up them. Of coarse war is all about the goodies and the baddies. And the baddies getting hammered. The movie is a good old baddie and goodie movie. Im the one that argues Alexander was involved with both Philip and Darius murder.

I dont believe the fuzzy romantic Alexander. The guy that was benevolent kind to losers etc etc. I believe he was as hard and as ruthless as any conquerer can be.so have never made excuses for him. All i stand by is the guys strategic. Military genius etc. No matter how heis judged his acheivements speak for themselves.

300 is entirely representative of way from any asp[ect. Look at the Pictures of Vietnemese Women been napalmed. Read about Peking smelling of human fat for months after Ghenghis Khan took it. And the images of Thin Jews rescued from the gas chambers. Indeed war is ugly brutal nasty distorted of facts. But its real today as its been for centuries.
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Post by Semiramis »

Amyntoros,

Agree with it all.

Kenny,

Even though I can't see myself viewing war (or much else) through a Manichean comic book lense, we do agree on another important point. People who have met with aggression do have the right to defend themselves, with arms if necessary. And I can see how the subtle nuances of the morality of either side that outsiders have the luxury to write forum posts about, can be lost when you're defending your village/town/city/country.

Best regards

Semiramis.
jasonxx

Post by jasonxx »

Semari

Ideed you have hit the nail on the head. Indeed we al have biased and steriotypivcal viewpoints its pretty hard not to the human mind is inventive and will puit any type of label to whatever they see.

I know the Persians were not Orks. Had bombs and had deformed execututioners. The imortals looking like zombies. I know that and dont pretend they did. But an enemy is faceless there to be chopped down in great numbers to save your lands.

war is propoganda and micky taking to make the other guy look silly ugly or evil. I wonder if you could instill your army to fight to the death if you knew the Persians were mere men with not very good fighting capabilities. I gues you may become complacent and become unstuck.. I would say the Persian courts as many parties would have freaks migits etc for entertainment. The Romans had far more decedant ways to entertain in the coluseum.

As far as war action battle films go. This one has the best battle scenes for decades.
I guess in a way it does show how useless Persian forces were as well... As my brother quite rightly said.... You could sweep up the persians with a lawn mower.

It gives very good lessons maybe of values missing today. honour.Love for your country and people. trust between men and above all never trust a politician. thats never changed.

the day soldiers and people say to kings and leaders like Alexander, Xerxes,Napoleon. Bush, Blair. The day people say you fight we aint comming then all wars would end.

Soldiers today as then are mugs and get fed lies to fight for nothing.

The only reason for fighting is to protect your family.

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Re: Hypocrisy

Post by Paralus »

My opinion of the film (300) is well known. I've not ever hired the DVD and, when compared to Stone's Alexander (which I own...there's a revelation), that is damning critique.

That aside, I thought it might pay to revisit Kenny's original subject matter:
jasonxx wrote:Ikinda like reading democracy while your going through some ones pockets. We get the endless arguements against Alexander and Philip and there war mongering ambitions. Oh those naughty Macedonian Bogey men. Maybe youi will back me up paralus but the Sparatns and all hellenes were all in the same game one way or another. Imperialism Expanstion.
And, indeed I will back you up Kenny. The Hellenes were in the business of self aggrandisement. I have had a little to say about Athenian imperialism. Democracies, it turns out, are good at “doing” imperialism and expansion. Whilst it is often argued that Athens supported democracies throughout the empire, this was not always the case. Nor, when it was the case, was it for the oft-cited reason of empowering the “demos” who would then favour Athens. Mytilene is a case in point. No, it was more to the point that these democracies were installed in fractious or rebellious states where it was a matter of removing the rebellious lot in power (oligarchs for the greater part) and replacing them with their opponents.

This was a policy firmly followed by Philip and Alexander after him. Alexander’s “democratising” of Greek cities of Asia Minor had more to do with replacing Persian favouring narrow government forms (“tyrants” and oligarchies) with their opposite numbers.

In the same way Sparta, after “liberating” the Islander Greeks installed the diametrically opposed opposite of the democrats: tight oligarchies. Lysander tightening it down to “decharchies”: the rule of ten who, funnily enough, favoured Lysander.

In Sparta there was a constant, understated friction between the realists (those of the view of Lysander), who saw a full flowering of Spartan hegemony only ever possible with Persian support and the traditionalists, who wanted the same without Persian aid. There were few who had moral qualms about actually “freeing” the Greeks. Empire was much better. Agesilaos and his ilk thought – extremely naively – that Sparta could have the lot and parts of the King’s Empire as well.

In the end, Sparta’s oliganthropy and the aggressive refusal by Agesilaos to acknowledge the Boeotian League, lead to the severely overstretched Spartans being destroyed at Leuktra.

Thebes then followed the same path. Allied to Athens when it suited both, its programme to build a fleet of triremes with timber from Athens' ostensible ally, Macedonia, saw Athens decide that the future might be better served by supporting the Peloponnesians. Athens’ future was, of course, inextricably linked to its naval superiority and that future was the regaining of its fifth century empire.

Unfortunately for Athens that programme – begun in the north at Methone, Olynthus and that key to empire, Amphipolis – ran into a rather obstinate obstacle. Athens, Thebes and, to a lesser extent, Sparta didn’t realise it at the time but their empire dreaming had been rudely interrupted by a much more talented and clever player, Philip II of Macedon.

The Greek world would not ever be the same again.
Last edited by Paralus on Tue Aug 28, 2007 2:06 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Wicked men, you sin against your fathers, who conquered the whole world under Philip and Alexander.

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Post by Paralus »

jasonxx wrote:.
I guess in a way it does show how useless Persian forces were as well... As my brother quite rightly said.... You could sweep up the persians with a lawn mower.
And, if that's the case, they were a lawn that had conquered a world.

There were reasons for the Persian defeat in Greece. They had little to do with effeminacy, being "useless" or lawnmowers.

300 will, though, give you that impression.
Paralus
Ἐπὶ τοὺς πατέρας, ὦ κακαὶ κεφαλαί, τοὺς μετὰ Φιλίππου καὶ Ἀλεξάνδρου τὰ ὅλα κατειργασμένους;
Wicked men, you sin against your fathers, who conquered the whole world under Philip and Alexander.

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jasonxx

Post by jasonxx »

Michael

Make your mind up many occasion you say Alexander beat a pretty useless Persian Army. Now your upping them from been a lawn.

Are you saying Xerxes had a Great Persian Force and Alexander had the lawn. make your mind up or do you select to suite your reasoning.

If you accept stones Alexander Roaring like a lion and Mascara to suite Liberace if you think that Alexander believable and 300 crap maybe you need a good look.


300 is a comic book loosely related war film. Alexander is supposed to be a realistic history of Alexander. Pay you money and take your choice I guess. Bums on seats. More people rate 300 than the Alexander. Stone keeps trying to alter it. No matter how much you dress up horse manure its still Horse Sh8t

Alexander will be remembered for farrel looking like a christmas drag artiste crying like a baby every 5 minutes.

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Post by marcus »

jasonxx wrote:Alexander will be remembered for farrel looking like a christmas drag artiste crying like a baby every 5 minutes.
I keep saying I'm not going to get drawn into this sort of mud-slinging about the movie, but I have to say that I saw the "Final Cut" at the weekend, and in it Alexander only cries twice (and even one of those isn't really a cry, but it is a hissy-fit). Stone even removed the shot of him walking and crying over the field of Gaugamela.

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Post by Efstathios »

No matter how much you dress up horse manure its still Horse Sh8t
Hahahah. Collin Farrel wasnt that bad as Alexander. The matter is that he could have played the role better, and i think that's a mistake of Stone, and his crew. Farrel in "Miami Vice" was good.
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Post by Paralus »

jasonxx wrote: Bums on seats. More people rate 300 than the Alexander. Stone keeps trying to alter it.
Couldn't give a damn about "bums on seats". I still rate Out of Africa and Dances With Wolves two of the best films I've paid to watch many times over. The first’s relationship to historical reality is iffy, the second a matter of some debate (in its depiction of the Lakota). I might also throw in The Untouchables. A man could go on...

I watch what I like. I did not like, nor really enjoy, 300. That's me: pugnacious and, occasionally, stuffy me.
jasonxx wrote:Make your mind up many occasion you say Alexander beat a pretty useless Persian Army. Now your upping them from been a lawn.

Are you saying Xerxes had a Great Persian Force and Alexander had the lawn. make your mind up or do you select to suite your reasoning.
Now that is rather unjustified. I’d wager good money that most of my bandwidth on this forum has been spent pointing out the fact that Persian armies were not polyglot collections of untrained imbeciles. That Persian armies, in fact, had conquered the world – before Alexander. That to defeat a well generalled Persian army in the field was no small thing.

I have consistently argued for rather “minimalist” Persian numbers in their engagements with Greek forces; the Greek and Macedonian historians numbers being exaggerated beyond the pale.

My line of argument has been most consistent: Alexander was lucky both at Issus and, more so, at Guagamela.

There will have been many a Macedonian on the left and in the centre that could testify to just how near run a thing Guagamela was. Had the Persians not deserted their king….who knows?
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Wicked men, you sin against your fathers, who conquered the whole world under Philip and Alexander.

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Post by Efstathios »

That Persian armies, in fact, had conquered the world – before Alexander
Because the rest of the world were equally untrained. The Greeks were the only ones that were better trained. And the proof for that is that these people that the Persians conquered, were the people that also fought with the Persians against Greeks, but were defeated.

Now, as far as how close was defeat for Alexander, you are right. But things didnt happen this way. Period. And the difference between a well trained army and a not well trained army, is just that. Of course Alexander was close to defeat, because he was fighting against a much more bigger army. But his tactics and the training and devotion of his army in keeping the lines, was what won the battle. Plus the fact of course that Alexander went straight for Darius.
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