Oliver Stone’s South of the Border: Sizzling Hot

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Oliver Stone’s newest film South of the Border, “A Political Road Movie” fills the back seat of the old beat up opinion and travels, through the seven countries of South America, serving up more heat than the media can handle.

Stone, the master of the narrative feature expose, has taken audiences through past administrations, been parodied as paranoid seeing conspiracy in everything, with an eagle eyed sharpness what the mass either can’t or refuses.

 

Stone effortlessly engages the audience entertaining them into his perceptions, for a peek, if only for a moment into the mind of what the media has labeled the lunatic.

 

Never taking the proverbial left turn to nowhere, Oliver Stone embraces the leftist rebel and draws the like mined and even the intellectually curious into this road trip. A coming of age, for the American population, we know find ourselves situated with an influx of Latin Americas who are thriving contributors to society and a media, predominately white old school, intent on maintaining the deity status they have embraced and proclaimed.

 

Stone, of course, began his coming of age trip, reevaluating maybe his own ideals, with a series of in-depth interviews with the public enemy number one: Hugo Chavez. And of course, we know he is public enemy number one because the media has spoon feed the mass with mind control deftness into believing that he is public enemy number one. Forget that his land is rich with oil; off shore and no spills in our back yard would the worst hap.

 

As Stone meets and, as celerity can, seduces the president or is it the way around, the two become friends spawn by memories of war; soldiers, men compassion and curiosity. There seemed to be a genuine bond developing on screen and as the two promoted the film around the world, off screen as well.

 

On Chavez’s invitation Stone decides it is all in for this road movie and off he goes to six other countries. His meeting with the other presidents brought enlightenment on their beliefs on their position, the needs of their people, the effects of the media, the US involvements and in reality, the scenes are almost perceived with an intellectual elitism, not portrayed in that way, and I wonder if that’s is the editing or the viewer.

 

We, as a society believe our intellect is superior to third world, countries and even those third world presidents educated in the United States from the East Coast Liberal Universities that spawn intellectual elitism.  In reality, these presidents probably have a hidden agenda, as does everyone, and their public agenda is to address the needs of the population.

 

The second element of the film is the indictment of the American media and their mind control tactics. The film opens with every pundit, from the past most trusted names in journalism to the contemporary, offering their: opinion” of Hugo Chavez and Venezuela. We know already; the phrases “friend of Osama” is translated in the media book for dummies, we are going to war. And are preparatory statements to ready the hearts of the people to swing the pendulum of political support tin favor of the plan. The film is well done, a 78-minute dissertation defense. South of the Border is the cliff notes for Contemporary South American Politics.

 

Oliver Stone and Tariq Ali, at South of the Border’s Press Day spoke candidly about the film, the evolution of the media and of course, the future of American involvement in South America.

 

Our interview is as follows:

Janet Walker: To me the film seemed, from a script point of view, like extensive interview sessions. Who came up with the subject matter and questions? Who directed the writing of the script?

 

Tariq Ali: The first I got involved with the film after quite a lot of the interviews had been done. So I helped structure it in terms of what the film should be because there were many possibilities.  There was an enormous amount of material and I thought the strengths of the film were a famous, one of Hollywood’s most famous director’s hopping on a plane and talked to seven presidents and that it was probably one of the best days to do the movie was a ‘Political Road Movie’ once it had been cut like that I then did, you know, a large chuck, of the commentary, to accompany it but the interviews had all been done by then. By the time I came on board.

 

“He flatters himself.” Stone stated, referring to the stoic Ali, as he entered the room joining the Roundtable already in session,  “It was too academic and Tariq gave it a flair. Mark [Weisbrot] is more academic, more research oriented and too many statistic it needed a little bit more drama.

 

Janet Walker: The film depicts the media as spoon feeding the mass with mind control tactics similar to a cult and targets Hugo Chavez as the next number one enemy and supporter of Osama Bin Laden. In your experiences are these preparatory statements and does his country believe these are preparatory statements for war against Venezuela?

 

Oliver Stone: Well, what would you think if there was acoup d'état against you and the United States was involved?  And what would you think if there was an oil strike the next year that almost destroyed your economy and the United States continued to call you names and say you anti-democrat and a dictator?

 

He [Hugo Chavez] has reasons, he has several reasons to fear the United States. So every time he says anything about us we report it as if he is attacking us. Which is what the Castro technique was. Castro was the one who always got killed by us. Castro was the one who got invaded by us once and the second big invasion was planned. People forget and Errol Morris didn’t do us any good by that documentary [The Fog of War] by not reminding the American people that the nuclear crisis came about as a result of the US military preparing an invasion of Cuba. People forget that. It’s so crazy. It’s always cause and effect. In our history, It’s like, ‘what did they say about America?’  They’re attacking us? It’s crazy. We’re huge, we’re enormous. We have power and their always attacking us, right? Iran is attacking us now; Iraq was attacking us; Venezuela was attacking us. 

Tariq Ali: And Columbia has huge amount of bases not far from the Venezuelan front.

Oliver Stone: And that was an issue with Obama, by the way, he did expand into a seventh base by the way the fourth fleet is created and sailing around South American waters which drives Brazil nuts particularly. You know that? There right off the shores; they’re all over.  It was the third fleet a few years ago and now it’s the fourth fleet.

 

Janet Walker: What were your expectations when you began to make this film? At concept, what were your expectations for the film?

Oliver Stone:  Very little. I thought, like I said to Fernando we’d be lucky to make Venezuelan TV. I was paying him back at that time for a Secret History of the United States, it’s a ten hour movie, I said, ‘Chavez I’ll do it for you but no one’s going to pay attention in this country. It’s dead PR. I’m surprised. It’s the little engine that could because the film has been seen a lot.  And by the way, It’s sold, television everywhere. We sold American, Showtime too, Cinema Libre Studio has the domestic and England is Dogwoof.

 

South of the Border opens in Los Angles on July 2, 2010

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