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par Lisa Marie WHITE
The narrative that the United States has tried to construct that it is an indepsensible, infallible, and morally righteous nation is falling apart at the proverbial seams. From a documentary exposing the brazen lies (1) behind the Magnitsky case, to America’s inability to use whatever clout it has left to get Russia banned from the Rio Olympics, the little world that the US has constructed for itself is starting to crumble.
Enter Oliver Stone. The outspoken director has never shied away from speaking his mind. Despite his detractors, Stone has held firm to his patriotic duty of holding his leaders accountable for their actions. The legendary filmmaker has two films out this year that really ought to jolt Americans awake.
His first film, out now, details the role of the American government in the violent overthrow of the democratically elected government of Ukraine. The Obama administration, and its lapdogs in the media, blamed the Maidan violence, and the ensuing civil war, on pro-Russian president Viktor Yanukovych, and factions backed by Russian president Vladimir Putin. The documentary hopes to shed some light on that false narrative.
Stone’s second film, due to be released in September, details the totalitarian spy state embodied by the NSA. The suspense thriller is based on Snowden’s real-life accounts of how he ended up being the US’s most famous whistleblower.
Ukraine on Fire
Stone has been an outspoken critic of the US/EU policy in Ukraine since the get-go, and has been labeled a crackpot by American media outlets (2) for his efforts to get the truth to Western audiences. Unfortunately, it is more likely than not that Stone, however respected he may be as a filmmaker, will be excoriated by the neocon mafia for his documentary, Ukraine on Fire (3).
Ukraine on Fire is essentially an antidote to the saccharine fairy tale that Western propagandists attempted to sell in Winter on Fire.
The trailer for Ukraine on Fire, available on YouTube, tells a tale that is, sadly, well-known not only to eastern Ukrainians and Russians, but also to English-speaking audiences who have sought out the truth behind the Ukraine coup. The Maidan protests may indeed have started as peaceful anti-government protests, but the movement was hijacked by neo-Nazis, anti-Russian forces, and the US State Department.
Indeed, unlike Winter on Fire, which relies on banal tropes about peace-loving people yearning to be free of the oppressive Russian yoke, and interviews with a list of people that reads like a Who’s Who of neocon Russophobes, Stone’s film gets to the major players in the matter —interviewing respected journalist and Consortiumnews.com (4) founder Robert Parry, as well as both Yanukovych and (actual !) Putin. Instead of denying the presence of neo-Nazi brigade, which has been the standard practice of the West, Ukraine on Fire addresses the issue head-on.
Ukraine on Fire is going to shape up to be a must-see for every American. The film was shown (5) at the 62nd Taormina Film Fest in Messina, Taormina, Italy. It is unknown whether Stone has secured a Western distributor, but if he is unable to, let us hope that he is able to use his talents and connections to make certain this important documentary finds its audience.
Video : Trailer for Oliver Stone’s documentary "Ukraine on Fire"
Although it has experienced serious setbacks in its release date, Stone’s feature film, Snowden (6), will finally be released this fall.
Starring Hollywood golden boy Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Stone portrays Ed Snowden as an unexpected hero —a man who saw that his own government, in which he once firmly believed, has been engaged in illegal, stalkerish spying on every person on the planet.
Judging from the trailer, Snowden is probably not a flattering portrait of the US government. A one-time employee of CIA contractor Booz Allen Hamilton, Snowden revealed classified documents to journalists whom he agreed to meet at a hotel in Hong Kong. Snowden’s fascinating tale is already widely known, with some viewing him as a hero, and others seeing him as a traitor. Stone met personally with Snowden in Moscow, but the movie has taken some liberties with reality (like Nicolas Cage pretending to be an real human being and not a B-movie actor’s robot double sent from the 1950s into the future to destroy us all with cheesy line delivery).
Stone’s other films, such JFK, Born on the Fourth of July, and Natural Born Killers, have all been provocative as well as entertaining, proving the director’s reputation as not only a masterful director, but also a cultural critic. Snowden may very well end up being added to the quintessential Stone canon.
Lisa Marie WHITE