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Stone's 'Alexander' Q & A at UC-Berkeley
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birdiemom94



Joined: 06 Jul 2004
Posts: 195

PostPosted: Wed Mar 16, 2005 3:48 am    Post subject: Stone's 'Alexander' Q & A at UC-Berkeley Reply with quote

Oliver Stone did a Q & A on the film at UC-Berkeley (University of California) on March 14th. It was for "The College Presents" series.

If anyone wants to see the webcast of the event, here is the link:

http://webcast.berkeley.edu/events/archive.html

The webcast is about 1 hour 19 mintes long. You need to have Real Player in order to see it.

They even play music from 'Alexander' before they introduce Stone (nice touch!)

If you have trouble with the site, please let me know. It was working for me and all of the sudden it is not. I am not sure what happened.

Dara Smile
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Ely



Joined: 02 Dec 2004
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 16, 2005 3:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great link, thanks for posting this, I will watch and post comments.
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lardvaark



Joined: 13 Jan 2005
Posts: 169
Location: Southampton, UK

PostPosted: Wed Mar 16, 2005 10:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thankyou! Very Happy

I'll try and watch this over the next couple of days. What timing, I've just got RealPlayer installed!

L
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Susa



Joined: 01 Jun 2004
Posts: 39
Location: England

PostPosted: Fri Mar 18, 2005 4:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've made a few brief notes from the talk, which relate mainly to Stone's plans for the DVD edit of the movie, and about comments he has made about the supposed over-emphasis of Alexander's homosexual relationships.

This seems to be the gist of it:

It seems the main thesis of the movie that he is trying to clarify is Alexander’s feelings about the death of his father, and about his mother’s possible complicity in the assassination. Stone has re-edited the movie for the DVD version and it seems he is adopting the *** approach as he originally intended, with a parallel story being told. The movie will last two and a half hours (the attention span of the US public, he says) and will be released on 5th July.

The early scenes in Greece will be end at the scene in the cave with Philip and Alexander. The movie will then shift to adult Alexander at Gaugamela. The remaining scenes will be shifted to the third act, as he calls it, when “all the ironic echoes of what he did when young are repeated when he is older, and all the tensions bear fruit.”
It seems then – if I understand what he’s saying – the scene where Olympias is urging Alexander to marry will be shown after his marriage to Roxane. “After he marries her, he has the relationship, now you bring the mother in, full blast - parallel – she’s telling him to get the throne, how to marry – he does everything opposite to what his mother says. And at that point, the movie reaches another level.”

Similarly, the mutiny scene will be paralleled with the murder of his father; Cleitus’ death with the banquet scene. And finally, “The greatest moment of all – which I think I blew – which is on the DVD – is when Alexander is mortally wounded. He rises above the trees and the last scene he sees of himself, is him and his mother. Where the mother doesn’t deny or accept the guilt --- ‘take the power it’s yours’….. He recognises in that moment how like his mother he is”

He is cutting down on Ptolemy’s narration – less history – “frankly they can go read it. I don’t mind a simpler approach.” (He says the studio wanted him to cut Ptolemy out of the movie and make it a first person voice over “what a disaster”)

He says of Alexander and Hephaistion's relationship;
“I think I got carried away with the homosexuality because I wanted to reinforce the relationship, but I think the relationship is clear with less emphasis, as I will show you in the DVD.” He mentions the homophobia he encountered in English-speaking countries. “People mistake the homosexuality in Alexander with their own present day version of it, and it’s not similar…”

The interviewer then asks Stone, “How do you get people with 21st century eyes to see this; in a sense, this was a fact of his life. Don’t you feel that you have an obligation to keep that as part of his story? How do you resist even that kind of homophobia?”

Stone; “I didn’t - I put it in. The facts are, we do not know that he had… he became king at nineteen, you gave up your male lovers or you had them quietly…..(he mentions Greek male relationship conventions of the time)… I think that Alexander probably gave up his relationship with Hephaistion. If he had one, which I think he did. By that time, by the time they were in the field they were simply soulmates. They were lovers in the platonic sense of the word, as Aristotle laid out in the movie earlier on, ‘to love the other, to bring out the best in the other, not for any self-gain’ -which is a beautiful philosophical concept; that’s what I got hooked on. Unfortunately, perhaps too much for the American audience, and maybe the world audience. I think I could be a little bit more subtle there, but it’s an important point and I just didn’t want to lose it. Because the Greeks when very outside the Roman philosophy, the Greeks were sensual, they worshipped the body in the most positive sense…..”

There is much more, of course. This is only a very brief summary of some of the important points, and the words are not exactly verbatim. I recommend people listen to the interview too - there's a lot of interesting discussion there.
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cindoo15



Joined: 29 Nov 2004
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 18, 2005 6:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you Susa for posting that; I haven't had the time to dedicate to watching it yet.

I must admit, my heart started beating faster when he spoke about having less emphasis on the relationship between Hephaestion and Alexander in the film. I just don't know what to say. I am crushed Crying or Very sad
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GLENDALEFALCON



Joined: 21 May 2004
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Location: Springfield, Missouri, USA

PostPosted: Fri Mar 18, 2005 7:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

"less emphasis on the relationship between Hephaestion and Alexander"

I don't think he said anything like that...just that he spent too much time
on it, but I didn't hear him say anything about taking it out or reducing
that element in the DVD cut. I can't wait for the DVD details to be
released by Warner Bros. "very soon" or so says thedigitalbits.com
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apelles



Joined: 12 Mar 2005
Posts: 1152

PostPosted: Fri Mar 18, 2005 12:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I feel really horrified if O.S.has caved in to pressure to tone down Hephaistion and Alexander,s relationship---this is just censorship by the back door.And of what?You can see more male passion on any soccer pitch after a score!Doesn,t he realise that the people who are going to buy the d.v.d.are the ones who have already accepted their relationship and will feel very let down if it is cut to shreds.Honestly I could scream!AAAAAGH.Feel marginally better now.I wonder if he,s going to leave Bagoas alone.Can,t see how he can make sense of Cleitus,death if he decides to chop that as well.If he goes on like this we,ll all have nervous breakdowns from the suspense
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cindoo15



Joined: 29 Nov 2004
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 18, 2005 8:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

GLENDALEFALCON wrote:
"less emphasis on the relationship between Hephaestion and Alexander"

I don't think he said anything like that...just that he spent too much time
on it, but I didn't hear him say anything about taking it out or reducing
that element in the DVD cut. I can't wait for the DVD details to be
released by Warner Bros. "very soon" or so says thedigitalbits.com


Well, if he spent too much time on it, to me that means there will be less emphasis on the relationship. Stone said "...the relationship is clear with less emphasis. As I will show on the DVD". I do hope I am wrong but to me this sounds like a reduction.

Also, Stone goes on to say that he believes the sexual relationship between Alexander and Hephaestion ended when they were 19. However, I think Stone has changed his interpretation because in the infamous 'ring scene' Hephaestion is in tears and speaks about how he loves Alexander (even if it's difficult to hear). I understand that soulmates are very very close and may not necessarily have a sexual relationship but if they were just soulmates without a sexual part to their relationship then I just don't think Hephaestion would be crying about Alexander getting married - the whole scene would NOT make any sense. What do y'all think?
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Alexandros_19



Joined: 15 Feb 2005
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 18, 2005 10:39 pm    Post subject: Webcast Reply with quote

I watched the webcast this afternoon and I think it was very interesting to hear so much about the movie from Oliver Stone.
I particularly liked how he tried to explain his intention of showing a fair portrayal of Alexander as he was, and not a twentyfirst-century version audiences would necessarily feel identified with. I agree with his criticism of Troy which, despite being a very good movie (I think so too), it was not very accurate in terms of portraying the characters' personality, in particular respect to Achilles and Patroclus' relationship.
About the relationship between Alexander and Hephaestion, I think he was a bit confusing in trying to justify why he showed it the way he did by saying that he got carried away with homosexuality and everything else he said. Anyway, I think the director's most precise voice is the movie itself, the one all of us saw at the cinemas and, if he modifies that film we all love so much in the DVD, we still have pirate copies of the theatrical version to fall back on. Laughing
The one thing I expect the most is to be able to see those additional scenes that were cut from the theatrical version and that I hope they appear on some extended version of the DVD.
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tv



Joined: 11 Mar 2005
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 18, 2005 11:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I can't wait for the DVD with the bonus features like director/casts commentary, and deleted scenes. Does anybody know if they include "The making of Alexander" in the DVD? I heard it is almost an hour long with focus on Colin's training to be Alexander. It would be great if this documentary film is included.
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cindoo15



Joined: 29 Nov 2004
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 19, 2005 12:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

cindoo15 wrote:

Also, Stone goes on to say that he believes the sexual relationship between Alexander and Hephaestion ended when they were 19. However, I think Stone has changed his interpretation because in the infamous 'ring scene' Hephaestion is in tears and speaks about how he loves Alexander (even if it's difficult to hear). I understand that soulmates are very very close and may not necessarily have a sexual relationship but if they were just soulmates without a sexual part to their relationship then I just don't think Hephaestion would be crying about Alexander getting married - the whole scene would NOT make any sense. What do y'all think?


To continue on the same theme. When Hephaestion was dying, he said to Alexander that when they go to Arabia that Alexander could dress him up like a shiek. Dressing one's soulmate up as a sheik is not something someone would do UNLESS that soulmate also happens to be your lover.

OK, sorry guys, I am just really upset about this change. Also, it's the dreaded PMS week where I tend to be Evil or Very Mad and things that would ordinarily bother me anyway just get magnified and really make me mad.
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Susa



Joined: 01 Jun 2004
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 19, 2005 3:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
“I think I got carried away with the homosexuality because I wanted to reinforce the relationship, but I think the relationship is clear with less emphasis, as I will show you in the DVD.”


It is difficult to say how he will tackle this. If he cuts or re-edits some scenes, he may be adding others. I find it difficult to see how he can totally cut the scenes with so-called homosexual content, since they contain other elements which are crucial to plot and character development, and to the cohesiveness of the story. There is an interesting thread on IMDb on the subject of Stone's talk, by someone who attended. Their interpretation of his intentions with the DVD edit are different, as they feel the changes will benefit the movie. The ensuing debate is even more fascinating! This is the link:

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0346491/board/flat/16563194

I think he doesn't seem to be regretting the honest depiction of the sexuality of the times, but in the way in which he chose to portray it. Stone was keen to show the deep, powerful *** bond of ideal friendship which bound Alexander and Hephaistion - and which Aristotle talked about - where any physical expression of their relationship was not the most important element of it.
I think his depiction of Alexander and Hephaistion in the movie is implied as them being 'sometime lovers', which was influenced Robin Lane Fox's book which claimed that, 'at the age of thirty Alexander was still Hephaistion's lover, though most young men would have grown out of the fashion by then.' Though of course, like any of us today, Fox has no proof that that was the case, as there is no evidence one way or the other - it is how we interpret what historical sources there are.
It seems movie audiences had difficulty in understanding the historical context to the concept of such a deep friendship as Stone chose to show it, and the sexuality aspect of it was seized upon to the detriment of what he was seeking to portray. Perhaps that is why he's keen to place less emphasis on the fact that there may have been a physical relationship; it has been misinterpreted in modern romantic or gay terms. Any physical connection between them was deliberately subtly implied anyway, and was open to interpretation by the viewer. Less emphasis could be as simple as editing out the line, 'Stay with me tonight, Hephaistion.' We don't really know at this stage.
Personally, I think Stone is bowing to pressure and is changing his stance to some extent over something he rather bravely, though tentatively, chose to depict. He made a choice and should stick with it. Audiences should be able to deal with men who hug. I'm not opposed to re-editing of the movie, but would hate to see any scenes removed, and would rather see additions which help fill in gaps in the storytelling.
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cindoo15



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PostPosted: Sat Mar 19, 2005 4:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bravo Susa, I think you said it wonderfully.

Also, I have been meaning to ask, and since you brought it up, I have been curious about that line in RLF's book that you quoted (at the age of thirty...). He didn't say what led him to believe this, which seems unusual because he was careful in his book to explain his reasoning. I was wondering if anyone knew what led him to make this statement.
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rothalion



Joined: 02 Dec 2004
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 19, 2005 6:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It would be a shame to see Stone go belly up and edit his movie. After seeing the interview I greatly fear that he has. His defense of it during the interview was at times lackluster and toward the begining he mentions money far too much. To me it is ironic that Alexander's story has been told by a man who seems to be giving in to popular outrage and who is not able to and is also unwilling to defend his work against the bias of an ignorant population. Alexander sought to enlighten, if not in reality he still did so in Stone's movie. How can Stone sit there and say that he admires Alexander for trying to educate and incoorporate new peoples into his army and growing kingdom when he seems to be bowing under to western moralistic, uninformed bias. If Stone has edited the western version to keep the moral majority happy then he has replicated Darius' flight from Gaugamela which to me will be an appalling irony . As proponents of the movie we should be prepared if gross editing has occured to make our voices heard.
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GLENDALEFALCON



Joined: 21 May 2004
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Location: Springfield, Missouri, USA

PostPosted: Sat Mar 19, 2005 7:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lets just calm down here a bit! ok!

First of all, Stone IS reediting the film for the DVD...it WON'T be the same
film we all saw in theaters. I don't know why people are saying "if" or
"looks like"...Stone IS changing the film! It's all in the interview piece!

Next, I agree with Stone that he put too much into the relationship angle
and could've touched on it with just a few scenes. Now moving Alexander's
last scene with his mother up to after Alexander's battle injury is a move in the
right direction. That always seemed to be rushed...Alexander is on the
shield being carried off, then we're thrown into a long tracking shot from
his troops gathered around into his tent. This new cut will go from Alexander
on the shield being carried off right into the last scene with Jolie and Farrell.
Then, Stone is going to cut back to the long tracking shot and Alexander
telling his troops they're going back to Asia.
Other changes will be cutting down Mr. Hopkins part, I guess in terms of
on-screen time...I think he'll keep some of the voice-over stuff. I'm
sure other minor changes will be made. I didn't hear anything in his
interview that worried me in the least bit and actually made me more
interested in the DVD than I already was.

Oh, Stone will also cut from the cave scene with Alexander and Philip
directly into the first major battle sequence...he'll skip all that marriage
feast uproar between Alex and his father...Stone is moving those scenes
to later in the film. Now, we'll go right from that WONDERFUL cave
scene right into the Battle of Gaugamela.

I don't feel Stone is "backing down" or going "belly up"...he's simply putting
the cut of the film together that HE really wanted, but lacked time to fully
work out. I think the producer was right, they should've pulled out of
the fall '04 release...finished editing the film and picked a summer date.
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