Thursday, June 24, 2010

Internet Challenge: Does Anybody Like 'South of the Border'?

Reading Foreign Policy's not-too-favorable review of the new Oliver Stone film South of the Border got me wondering: does anybody who's serious about Latin American affairs think it's a legit film?

The roundup:

Washington Post: "In 'South of the Border,' Stone makes no pretense of objectivity."

New York Times: "'South of the Border' is a valuable, if naïvely idealistic, introductory tutorial on a significant international trend."

Forbes: (Not shocking) "a bit of agitprop with only an ideological payoff likely for the lefty auteur and his writers, Tariq Ali and Mark Weisbrot."

Although The Times also notes that "There are no serious interviews with the poor to determine how everyday lives have changed under these socialist governments, and there is no mention of the human rights abuses in Venezuela reported by Amnesty International."

NPR is less harsh on content but doesn't praise Stone heavily for his filmmaking style:
"Say what you will about political bias — and it's certainly fair to accuse Stone of filming Latin American leaders through rose-colored lenses — the portrait he paints of the contemporary social movement known as the Bolivarian Revolution (after Simon Bolivar's 19th century struggle to free Latin America from Spanish rule) isn't giddy or simple-minded."
It's worth pointing out in the sake of fairness that I've listed reviews of major US media outlets, the ones that Stone attacks in his film as willfully portraying an inaccurate, easy-to-consume picture of Chavez the tyrant lurking "South of the Border."

Image Source: New York Times
Online Sources: Foreign Policy, New York Times, NPR, Washington Post, Forbes, Metacritic


Anonymous said...

from de Clermont - It is interesting to read the NY Times quote, "'South of the Border' is a valuable, if naïvely idealistic, introductory tutorial on a significant international trend." How "valuable" can a supposed documentary be that is not objective and that is so subjective. Perhaps the NY Times meant that it is a valuable view in to the skewed mind of Mr. Stone. Additionally, the NY Times sees Chavez as a reflection of some international trend. What a load of crap! Non-aligned and or "counter the ruling economic powers" movements have existed for 60 years. First it was the Soviets and their hangers on, then it was the "non-aligned" movement, and there has always been a political force within Latin America that was counter USA and counter "capitalistic imperialism". And now in a couple more countries (other than Cuba) we have regimes that resort to angry, hate filled anti-US rhetoric. That is nothing new. And the fact that the odd-men out in the world ban together (Iran, Libya, Vz, Cuba, Bolivia, etc.) and unite in some symbolic, doomed-to-fail, united-in-hate club is not a significant trend. Leave it to the NY Times to print such pedestrian tripe.

Thales Jacobi said...

As pretty much all Oliver Stone movies are cr^p and this isn't exception. It is tendentious and totally fictitious, I would dare say.