Sunday 12 May 2013

The Kingdom of Heaven

Just watched a part of Kingdom of Heaven. I had seen it some years ago, but that was before Jerusalem. The movies makes much more sense now, here. The last time I was sharply conscious of its New Age script. This time round, the proximity of the Land took over. I just discovered that Ibelin, Balian's domain, is nowhere near Kerak. It is quite nearby, actually: it is Yavne, Iamnia, Jamnia, in between Jaffa and Ashkelon. And Kerak, of course, is what we missed last year in our Jordan trip: Reynald de Chatillon's Kerak.

There was a real Balian, but he was not the illegitimate son of Godfrey of Ibelin as depicted in the film.  Though this Balian lost Ibelin to Saladin, just like the Balian of the movie, he would seem to have given rise to a long line of illustrious and noble descendants.

I must admit that I quite enjoyed the movie this time. Eva Green is extraordinary as Sybilla, Guy de Lusignan's wife and the sister of King Baldwin the Leper, though Orlando Bloom is quite wooden as the Wikipedia source says, I think. And the script is quite good, despite its clearly New Age leanings. I have no problem with compassion and goodness, and only admiration for the conscience that Balian chooses to obey over political expediency and even romantic interest and love. The problem always is: is that the way? To be truly Christian: to submit to the combination of love and truth that Jesus is: that is the problem. Making Christianity, and most especially Catholicism, the most atrocious of religions, the one that most tests all standards of merely human rationality. 

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