Visit again soon.

Visit our Web site at
Get our tweets at

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Film Sneak Preview: South of The Border

Oliver Stone’s compelling new documentary, South of the Border, provides a series of candid conversations with several current presidents in South America about the new transformations in public policy in their respective regions. This film is an enlightening feature on how the U.S. news media may have slanted coverage about South America by overlooking some of the positive economic and political transformations taking place in this region of the world. Stone may have tried to make the coverage more balanced in his new film, but his method of storytelling often skews the boundaries between propaganda and responsible journalism.

The director traveled to Venezuela to chat with Hugo Chavez about how he has been reportedly ill portrayed by the U.S. news media. His conversation also reveals some of Chavez’ animosity about the former Bush administration and how limiting U.S. foreign policy (including the IMF) helped spur the revolution called neoliberalism – a focus on “bottom-up government,” that is based on social and economic reform on the poor and unemployed. Chavez’s candor with Stone indicates that he harbors much resentment for reported U.S. involvement on various coups that threatened to topple his government. “The best way to convey it further was to take the film on the road and talk to Chavez allies in the region,” the director says. “Every single one of them was positive about Chavez,” Stone said.

South of The Border provides similar interviews with other presidents who have come under fire, such as Evo Morales (Bolivia) and Cristina Kirchner (Argentina). The film provides some enlightening stories of those countries overcoming economic misfortunes to help spur economic and social growth.

There are several challenges that face Stone’s new film and its quest for widescreen release. The coverage is very biased and takes a strong stance against the U.S. news media. Most of the sound bites and clippings come from the Fox News Channel, which doesn’t give a well-rounded critique of the U.S. news media stories coverage on South American leadership. Stone should have used a broader selection of footage to add more validity to his claims.

The film also links most of Bush’s democratic foreign policy efforts as a cover to protect oil interests in countries like Bolivia and Venezuela. Stone’s picture should have made a concerted attempt to try and set up interviews with former members of the Bush administration who could offer counter opinions and perspectives.

South of the Border succeeds in incorporating numerous interviews and economic data in this 80-minute feature. But Stone’s feature doesn’t ask tough poignant questions to these South American leaders to help balance-out his anti-Bush crusade. Many critics could dismiss this documentary as a Michael Moore rip-off. You be the judge.