submitted 6 months ago by [email protected] to c/nottheonion

Ridley Scott has been typically dismissive of critics taking issue with his forthcoming movie Napoleon, particularly French ones.

While his big-screen epic, starring Joaquin Phoenix as the embattled French emperor with Vanessa Kirby as his wife Josephine, has earned the veteran director plaudits in the UK, French critics have been less gushing, with Le Figaro saying the film could have been called “Barbie and Ken under the Empire,” French GQ calling the film “deeply clumsy, unnatural and unintentionally clumsy” and Le Point magazine quoting biographer Patrice Gueniffey calling the film “very anti-French and pro-British.”

Asked by the BBC to respond, Scott replied with customary swagger:

“The French don’t even like themselves. The audience that I showed it to in Paris, they loved it.”

The film’s world premiere took place in the French capital this week.

Scott added he would say to historians questioning the accuracy of his storytelling:

“Were you there? Oh you weren’t there. Then how do you know?”

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[-] [email protected] 100 points 6 months ago

Scott added he would say to historians questioning the accuracy of his storytelling:

“Were you there? Oh you weren’t there. Then how do you know?”

Because the people who were there wrote it down, and now we can read it. Scott's line of reasoning is inherently inconsistent because if followed it would mean we have to evidence of Napoleon Bonaparte existing in the first place. Boy is Ridley Scott going to feel dumb when he realizes he made a biopic of a mythical character combined from the real stories of several French generals after the revolution—if there even was a French Revolution, I mean, we weren't there.

Is there anything more embarrassing than people who think they know better than historians and reject the entire discipline of historiography? It's like being anti-vax but extended to everything you don't personally see.

[-] [email protected] 28 points 6 months ago

He made the same arguments about Gladiator back in the day, pretty much word for word.

Thing is, it works for Gladiator. I have no idea how well it works here.

[-] MiltownClowns 48 points 6 months ago

Well gladiator isn't named after one of the most documented people in history, so probably not as well.

[-] Deuces 32 points 6 months ago

Basically all we know about him is that his name is Maximus Decimus Meridius. Father to a murdered child, husband to a murdered wife, and he will have his vengeance; in this life or the next.

[-] lickmygiggle 23 points 6 months ago

Which brings to mind something one of my history teachers taught us about the implausibility of that movie. The main characters name is essentially “Most Tenth Middle”.

Quite the heroic name.

[-] [email protected] 1 points 5 months ago

"Maximus" and "Decimus" were both real Roman names, but they wouldn't have been used in that order. It would have been Decimus Meridius Maximus. Or something else in the middle, since I can't find at instances of Romans called Meridius

[-] lickmygiggle 1 points 5 months ago

Hey I didn’t know this - thank you for the information.

[-] KneeTitts 3 points 6 months ago

in this life or the next.

Coming next summer in Gladiator 2: The Resurrectioning

[-] postmateDumbass 2 points 6 months ago

Gladiator 2: The Electric Resurrectoloo

[-] [email protected] 9 points 6 months ago

I mean... sure, it's not named after him, but Marcus Aurelius is in that movie. They still have a column in his memory in Rome today.

On the minus side, he's in the movie just for a little bit and you can't really prove that he wasn't murdered by Commodus in a fit of jealous rage. On the plus column, Napoleon is already one of the most misrepresented historical figures, so... call it a tie?

[-] FlyingSquid 4 points 6 months ago

I realize I'm in a minority here, but I knew too much about Roman history to enjoy Gladiator. Which is odd, because I love I, Claudius and it's complete nonsense too.

[-] Son_of_dad -4 points 6 months ago

Ok but it seems some of the complaints were that it's anti French. My argument there is that the French were indeed the bad guys in this period in history, and so was Napoleon, so no shit the movie is anti French of the period.

[-] [email protected] 2 points 6 months ago

In that period (the Napoleonic Wars), the French were definitely the lesser of the many evils in Europe. Their opponents were the united nobility of Europe, and while Napoleon ultimately failed to end it, he weakened it to a point from which it would never recover. One could also argue that many South American countries were able to gain independence because the French weakened the Spanish and Portugese monarchies.

[-] Son_of_dad 0 points 6 months ago

You're saying that as if Napoleon's plan was to liberate and bring social progress. It wasn't. The things that the Napoleonic wars brought about weren't done by him on purpose, he was just out to conquer and be emperor

[-] [email protected] 1 points 6 months ago

Everyone else was also motivated by the lust for power. At least Napoleon was more or less meritocratic, and his actions brought about some progress. Hence 'lesser of the many evils'.

[-] [email protected] 4 points 6 months ago

Gladiator was obviously a fiction set in Roman times, and wasn't claiming to be a biopic of a historical figure. For Gladiator the bar was basically that the costumes, weapons and sets looked Roman.

[-] [email protected] 2 points 6 months ago

Still missed that mark, famously. The "nobody was there how do you know" quote about Gladiator was specifically about the costumes, if I recall correctly.

Also, absolutely it claimed to depict the lives of historical figures. Marcus Aurelius and Commodus are people who lived. Important people, too. The entire movie is a bit of a alt-history take on the relatively anecdotal detail that Commodus was assassinated by a gladiator and that he used to fight in the arena himself.

Again, haven't seen Napoleon, but I'm gonna say I can see someone fictionalizing the life of a guy who has become shorthand for having an inflated ego and a whole bunch of jokey pop culture anecdotes. Is the bar meant to be different here? There was fictionalized apocrypha about Napoleon (and the rest of the Bonapartes, while we're at it) while they were alive and in charge. I think the statute of limitations is up on that one.

[-] lledrtx 1 points 6 months ago

He made the Kingdom of Heaven, also heavily twisted history. I'm seeing a pattern here...

[-] [email protected] 1 points 6 months ago

Yeah, the guy is a fan of historical fiction. More Ben-Hur than... eh... I don't know, I'd bring up one of Spielberg's but I'm not sure how much better they are.

Point is, he makes movies and he clearly prefers to dramatize over sticking to historical fact. That's valid.

[-] lledrtx 1 points 6 months ago

Dramatization in terms of exaggerating details is valid. Like say, in reality the protagonist fought 2 soldiers but the movie shows them fighting 200 warriors ("300" style) would make sense because you are trying to sell tickets.

But twisting the stories itself and then saying the historians are wrong, is not valid, I think.

[-] [email protected] 1 points 6 months ago

It depends on whether the movie says it or it's a thing from an interview, in my book.

As in, if the movie is making a case that something went down a certain way in real life when it didin't (say, JFK) then... yeah, well, that's a bit of an issue, sure.

If the movie is out there being a movie and the director is just saying he liked it more this way and you weren't there to check and get off my hair and watch the movie... well that's not an unreasonable response to people well acksually-ing a movie.

And again, haven't seen the movie. No idea what this is like. All I'm saying is this attitude is not new for the guy and his historical dramas are all heavily stylized and put drama ahead of accuracy for narrative purposes and that's... fine. At worst it's an excuse for people to make nerdy videos about the actual history, which I'm also fine with.

[-] dustyData 10 points 6 months ago

Dude is almost 90, at that age logic goes out the window. He is already one of the most acclaimed directors in Hollywood, he got nothing to lose.

[-] HeyThisIsntTheYMCA 5 points 6 months ago

Someone ask Keanu

this post was submitted on 19 Nov 2023
375 points (97.5% liked)

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