Cozy Commie Comrades on a Movie Date – The Oliver Stone/Hugo Chavez Socialist Love-In
Posted on September 9 2009 10:28 pm
Donâ€™t get me wrong â€“ Stone has the capacity to make an entertaining flick. But to mistake his work for thorough, credible and thoughtful coverage or analysis of geopolitical dynamics is like seeking relationship advice from Jessica Simpson or Jennifer Aniston.
With the release of South of the Border, a documentary focusing primarily on Venezuelaâ€™s communist dictator Hugo Chavez, Stone has created a new anti-American, conspiracy-theorist, plight-of-the-misunderstood-dictator film genre I’ll call a Commumentary. Itâ€™s the kind of portrayal of Chavez that could only come from the mind of an extreme left-wing filmmaker like Stone â€“ or maybe his corpulent, anti-capitalism cohort Michael Moore.
Incidentally, Moore also premiered his latest film in Venice â€“ Capitalism: A Love Story, which received a standing ovation for its declaration that “Capitalism is an evil, and you cannot regulate evil.” Yes â€“ the same multimillionaire Michael Moore who once said that people who resent his wealth are not generally â€œworking-class stiffsâ€ like himself who have moved into the upper class:
“When one of us succeeds, we’re happy about that. We don’t begrudge that.â€ — Michael Moore
Yes indeed, Michael. Damn that capitalism!
In Stoneâ€™s latest installment of Hollywoodâ€™s series on socialist adoration, he depicts Chavez as a champion of the poor and of democracy. Hugo Chavez, he says, is â€œan extremely dynamic and charismatic figure. He’s open and warmhearted and big, and a fascinating character.â€
Stone is right on one point â€“ Chavez is big.
The filmmaker admits â€“ though we can hardly expect liberals to appreciate the weight of his admission â€“ that his intention was not to make a documentary that conveys all sides of Chavez. Nor, he told the L.A. Times, does it â€œaddress the ongoing criticisms of his [Chavezâ€™s] incendiary rhetoric, his frequent dust-ups with Venezuela’s opposition media (which supported a 2002 coup against him), or his disputed role in aiding leftist rebels fighting the government of neighboring Colombia.â€
Itâ€™s unfortunate that so many people will fail to see South of the Border for what it is â€“ Stoneâ€™sÂ jaundiced vision of his beloved dictator; no more credible than the propaganda pumped out by Chavezâ€™s state-run media.
Liberal media in America does much to propagate Stoneâ€™s cinematic distortions by failing to deliver penetrating questions of his work. Instead, we get the kind of â€œnewsâ€ coverage CNNâ€™s Anjali Rao delivered in her discussion with the filmmaker, which seems less like a news interview and more like a televised therapy session with good lighting.
South of the Border also shows Stone sharing his man-crush love for other controversial South American leaders, as he nibbles on coca leaves and plays soccer with Bolivian President Evo Morales, leader of a nation notorious for government corruption and a flourishing new trend dubbed â€˜cocaine tourism.â€™
On MSNBCâ€™s Way Too Early, host Willie Geist took another approach, describing the entire affair with the incredulity and sarcasm it deserves:
But, far be it from liberals the world over to let political and humanitarian realities stop a good party. (Now would be a good time to grab the little paper bag from the seat pocket in front of you.)
The Christian Science Monitor described the scene at the Venice red carpet premier in all its ethereal, misguided glory —
He [Chavez] threw a flower to the crowd, touched his heart, and even grabbed a photographerâ€™s camera to take a photo of himself as he strolled the red carpet with American filmmaker Oliver Stone. Mr. ChÃ¡vez was on hand to be feted for the premier of Mr. Stoneâ€™s new documentary â€œSouth of the Border,â€ which aims to portray ChÃ¡vez and other Latin American leftist leaders in a positive light.
â€œYou canâ€™t get a fair hearing for ChÃ¡vez. Itâ€™s an outrageous caricature theyâ€™ve drawn of him in the Western press,â€ Stone told Variety.
Reuters depicted the pomp and pageantry of the slobbering socialist love-in with equally nauseating detail â€“
The biggest star at this yearâ€™s Venice film festival has arguably been Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. Sure, George Clooney and Matt Damon have got the crowds going and can cause a minor media scrum with little effort, but Chavez and his large entourage of aides and guards is another matter altogether.
Chavez, looking every bit the movie star, was all smiles and charm, shaking hands with onlookers and reporters who wanted to meet him. Little wonder he looked happy â€” he will presumably be delighted with Stoneâ€™s overwhelmingly positive portrait.
The adoring crowds must have missed the headlines leading up to the film festival. Surely if they had known what Chavez was up to the preceding days, they would not have extended such a warm welcome to the Venezuelan dictator.
Just two days prior to the premier of South of the Border, Stoneâ€™s benevolent champion of Venezuelan democracy struck a deal with Iranian leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to export 20,000 barrels of petroleum a day to Iran at a time when the West is considering sanctions against the Middle East nation.
After sealing the deal, Chavez told Iranâ€™s Press TV that his long-term goal is to build a “nuclear village” with Iranâ€™s assistance, but gave no details on what that entails.
And the very day of the movie premier, Chavez ordered the permanent closing of 29 more radio stations in his country that have been critical of his administration.
Three cheers for Democracy – Chavez style.