‘Troy’ director draws parallels to Iraq war
10 May 2004
BERLIN – The world premiere of the Hollywood big-budget epit “Troy” in Berlin Sunday saw German-born director Wolfgang Petersen draw parallels between the Trojan war and the US-led war in Iraq.
Hundreds of star-struck fans lined the red carpet in the dome-shielded central plaza of Sony Center in the heart of Berlin as Petersen and the film’s romantic leading man, heartthrob Brad Pitt, arrived for the premiere of the USD 175 million (EUR 147 million) movie.
Towering above them and the fans was the Trojan horse itself, the actual full-size replica that was built for the movie and that was brought to Berlin and reassembled for Sunday’s world premiere.
Petersen, director of the World War II German submarine classic “Das Boot” (The Boat) and the action-thriller “Air Force One”, said he has been taken aback by the way the conservative rightwing has taken over the White House with a militaristic agenda.
The invasion of Iraq occurred just as shooting for the film got underway in Malta.
“I couldn’t believe it,” 60-year-old Petersen told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa. “I thought, it’s as if nothing has changed in 3,000 years. People are still using deceit to engage in wars of vengeance.”
While stressing that he “did not make this film with the intention of making an anti-American statement”, Petersen said the parallels between the Trojan war and the Iraq war became more apparent daily during the filming.
“Just as King Agamemnon waged what was essentially a war of conquest on the ruse of trying to rescue the beautiful Helen from the hands of the Trojans, President George W. Bush concealed his true motives for the invasion of Iraq.”
He added, “I wouldn’t make a movie like ‘Air Force One’ now,” which showed Air Force One under attack from terrorists.
Pitt, 40, who plays Achilles in the epic, said he could identify with the mythical character’s passions, both in love and on the battlefield.
“He was a passionate guy,” Pitt told a Berlin news conference. “I partly identified with him. I mean, I’d go into battle to defend my principles.”
Petersen is especially on the defensive in America following a disastrous review Friday of his film.
The Hollywood Reporter, a major movie industry trade paper, said in a damning review that Petersen’s movie fails to appeal to crowds who thrilled to “Gladiator” and also fails to appeal to “male audiences conditioned by video-game combat on a movie where soldiers beat on one another with primitive Bronze Age weapons”.
Though “inspired” by “The Iliad” by Homer, the film makes no mention of Greek gods, distorting the entire Greek myth, the paper said.
While giving kudos to actor Peter O’Toole as ageing King Priam, the newspaper scathingly says the dialogue is “corny” and, “The battles tend to look like those body pileups in rugby matches, and the drama remains stubbornly unfocused and remote.”
The legendary war circa 1200 B.C. ignites when Paris (played by Orlando Bloom) prince of Troy steals away Helen (Diane Kruger), the much younger wife of Menelaus (Brendan Gleeson) from the brutish king of Sparta. Pitt plays Achilles, receiving an arrow to his heel at the climax of the movie.
“The film’s more intimate scenes between generals in conflict or families in peril bog down with strained, even corny dialogue and static action,” The Hollywood Reporter said.
Subject: German news