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Monday, 13 May 2013

Oliver Stone Recieves Life Achievement Award At Croatian Film Festival











I briefly touched upon this news when it first came out Here. Great news for the award winning director, writer and producer, and great news for this alternative Croatian film festival that takes place annually in the city of Zagreb.  There's plenty of film festivals in Croatia, but this one is different.  Not so much about Hollywood, acting, sexiest scene, soundtracks etc...(You can check out his other films for that, some of which are right up there in my top movies list.  Who can forget timeless classic moments like Joe Peshi's speech and  eyebrows, the "Natural Born Killers" diner scene or Val Kilmer's transformation in "The Doors" to recall just a few. Did you know that the real Ron Kovic from his film Born on the Fourth of July had a Croatian father? (Yep it's true).....







.....but more about what's going on in the world around us, beyond our television remote controls and those 30 second news and sports bites. (Or what we think is going on in many cases)  Lot's of discussion on these topics, opening cans of worms so to speak,  theories, differing viewpoints, alternate fact based realities, new revelations that shake your faith in mankind and your neighbour... all that. For example, this query from a person in Serbia proves that making people take different facts into consideration can make one unpopular.......








....It takes balls to make thought provoking films (or art, or music, or poetry, etc) or maybe better put, films that challenge one to make decisions about things, even about oneself, that make people think, question things, or films that smash their perfect corner of the world preconceived notions to smithereens, giving peoples craniums a visual shake, to get rid of all that constant TV filler of Harlem Shuffle parody video commentaries  or where life is portrayed as just one big Folgers coffee commercial. lol. (Y'know. It was the similar commitment to uncovering truths, seeing through the propaganda smokescreens and searching for facts from all sources that uncovered the reality of what was really going on in occupied Croatia after the Serb-Yugoslav forces expelled Non-Croats from their homes in the 90's, between the shelling and bombing of other Croatian towns and cities that is. More on that  Here)  I actually got inspired doing this post, so I decided to take a few moments and do a little question and answer reporting myself at the local mall, to see how knowledgeable or interested people are, get their reactions, answer any questions they may have etc.

That  footage is below, (Boy, are the local Serborella bitches really going to hate this one. Maybe they'll go follow Joao Francisco and Joao Joao now, maybe even suck their dick, perhaps even suck them off right in front of me even, both at the same time. I couldn't care less and I'll even supply the kleenex so they can wipe the corners of their mouths afterwards, maybe even some refreshments. [I hope Pepsi or apple juice is ok] If they want to take it up the ass or do a bukake show, who am I to infringe upon their god and serb given rights....right?) As for the bearded Serbos who keep following me around, (they look a lot like the bearded Serb chetnik fucko in the sidebar come to think of it, but chubbier and sometimes with crumbs and mayo around the edges of their lips)....I dunno, I guess they can just go suck their Turkish mothers hairy cunt, armpits and anus.  I usually let women to be on the lookout for Serbs in the bars, they also like to pop date-rape pills in women's drinks when they're not looking, it's an old serb-gypsy trick.......Anyway, all in all, quite an honor for the city of Zagreb to have such an esteemed film maker, etc and so on,  taking the time to visit and speak at this fairly new film festival. Hopefully he had a chance to try out some of the good restaurants and bars, see the sights and stuff.  More at the links.......






The 11 to 2 pm slot was the wrong time to ask non-sports and non-coffee and muffin/fried dough questions. I don't really even like coming here, usually just when I need toilet paper, batteries, aluminum foil or if I wanted cheap crack from a chick that hangs around the store across the street. I asked a few people at the front doors before coming into the mall the same questions, but they said they didn't really know much about Africa or the Middle East. After this I wasn't even going to attempt asking anyone about what they thought about Croatia being in NATO or Croatian hockey questions or a bunch of other stuff...(It could have turned really interesting but at least it didn't end up like this)...However, if anything, it uncannily shows the exact same amount of interest as when the Serbs were ravaging across Croatia and elsewhere in the 90's  and leveling Sarajevo for 3 years. Amazing.






Related: www.index.hr

daily.tportal.hr

www.index.hr

www.vecernji.hr

wikipedia.org/wiki/Oliver_Stone's_Untold_History_of_the_United_States

www.channelnewsasia.com

www.soundset.hr

www.likecroatia.hr

Related previous posts: 3rd-annual-mediterranean-film-festival

12th-annual-motovun-film-festival-gets-monty-python

57th-pula-film-festival-taking-place

2010-dorf-documentary-rock-film-festival











Oliver Stone gets award at Croatian film festival




Source: AFP

Photogalleries: www.subversivefestival.com

www.index.hr

www.jutarnji.hr

www.flickr.com

Videos:  www.hrt.hr

www.rtl.hr 





ZAGREB — US three-time Oscar-winning filmmaker Oliver Stone has received a lifetime achievement award at a film festival in Croatia that hosts debate on social issues.

Stone became the first person to receive a "Wild Dreamer" award at the sixth annual Subversive Film Festival in Zagreb late on Sunday.

"I'm especially proud to be here to show our ten-part series the Untold History of the US," Stone said at the ceremony.

The 66-year-old, who won Academy Awards for "Platoon", "Born on the Fourth of July" and "Midnight Express," has directed films as diverse as "Nixon" and "Natural Born Killers".








His documentary presented in Zagreb looks back at some of the darkest events in the US history from the atomic bombing of Japan during World War II to present days.

"I always see a lot of self-criticism in Eastern Europe ... and I admire that because we need a little bit more of it in the US, a little bit more questioning what we are up to," Stone said.

"It's important to keep subverting but at the same time question yourselves too, question what you do and keep this challenge up. The West, the US particularly, has to be challenged at this point," he said.








More than 300 filmmakers, intellectuals, activists and writers from all over the world take part in the two-week festival, that opened on May 4.

The festival aims to offer "space for serious political, social and cultural analysis aimed at questioning and finding alternatives to challenge and change local and global power relations," according to a statement.

The participants included head of Greece's main opposition left-wing Syriza party, British Pakistani leftist intellectual Tariq Ali and Slovenian Marxist philosopher Slavoj Zizek.





Photogallery: www.jutarnji.hr












The Untold History of the United States









Source: www.subversivefestival.com



“In 1965, I wanted to sign up for the Belgian Congo and fight as a mercenary – I was crazy,“ says Oliver Stone, who has been proudly placing his “craziness“ in front of the camera for years. Call it an obsession, frustration, or merely a consequence of numerous intimate contradictions: Stone is a military volunteer who willingly went firing weapons throughout Asia, after which he made his name as an anti-war activist and cinema's biggest opponent of the legacy of the war which he had personally participated in.

It was not all Tom Sawyer's fault, but it might as well have been – as a young, naive dreamer Stone studied at Yale, where he was so impressed with Japanese revolutionary slogan “Throw away your books and get out onto the streets” that he literally walked out of the library, onto the road and went straight to the jungle. Inspired by war as a masculine escapade inherent in the classics by Hemingway, Conrad and Jack London, the child of rich, highly educated parents, who couldn’t manage to stay happily married for long, dreamed of becoming a general, an adventurer and a warrior, and then a writer in a similar vein, cultivating an unhealthy obsession about writing more than a thousand pages long autobiographical novel. What could a twenty year old barely over legal drinking age say in such an ambitious memoir? Very little, unless he created an “instant life” by force, even if it involved using weapons of death.

Stone went to Vietnam in 1967, first as a school teacher, then afterwards with the intention of spreading napalm rather than knowledge. Unlike most of the volunteers who just wanted to “kill communists” and make jewelry out of human body parts, Stone’s motives were not of a “patriotic,” ideological or sadistic persuasion: he carried pen and paper into the trenches, determined to take notes for his future literary masterpiece. However, he quickly realized his papers were no match for the aggression of relentless monsoon rainfall. He discovered in practice that it would be wiser to keep his finger on the trigger, not the pen. All this before he replaced both trigger and pencil with the camera, subsequently picking up a pen again to write “The Untold History of the United States,” which he adapted for the screen right after its publication in the fall of 2012. The 750 pages written in collaboration with Peter Kuznick turned into a ten episode geopolitical “TV calendar” of sorts, made for cable television with a clear agenda of debunking “the secret history of America” and “the American 20th century.”

This “untold” history of America has been and still remains a central theme of the majority of Stone’s cinematic output – feature, documentary and docufiction. Those expecting this ambitious project to expose a secret race of telepathic reptilians that control the human race via the banking and media matrix were disappointed by the fact that the history depicted here was something they have quite a good understanding of. It is therefore not exactly clear what was this “secret” and “untold” part supposed to be. However, by the same token “The Untold History of the United States” is unremarkable to anyone familiar with Stone’s creative trajectory, merely a meticulous extension of his political obsessions, this is not a history that the U.S. educational system puts on the front covers of history textbooks, while the average burger-muncher polishing his machine gun collection in the basement is as much familiarized with it as he is with 19th century Mandarin poetry.

Naturally, his right-wing compatriots accused him of pulling facts straight from the Central Committee, neither for the first nor the last time – even in Hollywood, perceived as a hotbed of leftist Sodom and Gomorrah in the eyes of American conservatives, Stone was a greater leftist than all the champagne socialists put together, one of those authors who spent the Reagan’s eighties dancing on the brink of dissidence, balancing the perks of movie establishment with hazardous provocation. This was long before Michael Moore – although both of them would have been burned at the red witch stake during the McCarthy years.

Vietnam, therefore, was the turning point. “I can still remember the face of the man I blew up,” says Stone about trying hard to keep his sanity after the return from hell. In 1971 he made his short film debut, “Last Year in Vietnam,” the first attempt at exorcising personal demons. That same year he renewed his friendship with a Yale colleague, legendary producer and director Lloyd Kaufman, now president of the only genuinely independent production company, Troma Entertainment. In a manner of Roger Corman, Kaufman helped elevate the careers of several acting and directing icons (Trey Parker and Matt Stone, Billy Bob Thornton, etc.); Stone helped him film a comedy, “The Battle of Love’s Return.” Next to Kaufman, his other mentor was Martin Scorsese, but up until the early eighties he earned his money directing exploitation and horror movies, such as today’s cult grindhouse features “Seizure” (1974) and “The Hand” (1981). His career started picking up speed, first thanks to the Best Screenplay Academy award for “Midnight Express,” and then thanks to “Scarface.” As a screenwriter, Stone endowed his movie anti-hero with a record-breaking amount of profanity, while the director Brian De Palma readily broke the threshold of graphic violence on the big screen. The number of gangsta rappers and drug pushers inspired by Tony Montana will continue being of interest to sociologists and anthropologists for years to come.

Still, Stone’s milestone year was 1986, the year in which he made his first masterpieces, “Salvador” and “Platoon.” The first one was and has remained one of the finest “journalistic films” of all times, the story of reporters who discover the truth about the civil war in the title South American country, tearing down the old myth of America the globetrotting angel that takes care of democracy-starved, unfortunate nations. Brilliantly cast, James Woods and James Belushi had many reservations about accepting their roles, fearing rumors that Stone was a dangerously unpredictable PTSD guy who fears nothing – a fact he quickly proved by trying to shoot his film in war-torn El Salvador. Shooting got green lighted by the ruling military junta, whom he had sent a false screenplay celebrating the achievements of good-guy fascists fighting the evil communists. He backed out, however, after the revolutionaries killed his assistant in cold blood during a location scout.





Interview at the Zagreb Subversive Film Festival for Slovenian television.






Similar stories surround the set of “Platoon,” a movie which is not only a radical critique of the Vietnam war in the post-“Apocalypse Now” era, but also an entertaining blend of action and drama, significantly responsible for launching careers of Charlie Sheen, Willem Dafoe, Tom Berenger, Forest Whitaker, and Johnny Depp. As the legend goes, Stone nearly killed off his cast for real by throwing them into the real jungle military training camp, and just as they were verging on psychological and physical breakdown he picked them out of the trenches and shoved them in front of the camera. “Platoon” was filmed using very radical methods of extracting “real emotions” out of performers, but it was just as radical within the context of 1980s right-wing Hollywood renaissance, a period in which the Pentagon extensively backed the authors of films which corresponded with the ultra-patriotic revisionism of the day, such as “Rambo 2” or “Missing in Action.” There was not much enthusiasm left for an author whose critique of the U.S. military campaign in the Far East came packed within a trans-generational genre packed with shooting, explosions and smoking marijuana on long pipes.

But the Academy was pleased – “Platoon” won Best Film and Best Directing Oscars, thus inaugurating Stone’s therapeutic Vietnam trilogy, later supplemented with “Born on the 4th of July” and “Heaven and Earth,” the former starring Tom Cruise as a hippie veteran Ron Kovic, and the latter starring Tommy Lee Jones as a lovelorn soldier.

One year after “Platoon” he made “Wall Street,” a magnificent anti-memorial to corporate America and a decade of materialistic immorality, expensive cars and cheap cocaine. Long before Bernie Madoff, the case of Greece, Rohatinski and Hypo Bank, it was Gordon Gekko who taught us that “greed is good.” Twenty-three years after the original film, Stone seized the moment, riding the wave of the new financial crisis – caused by some new Gordon Gekkos of the good old Wall Street – and called for the aging Michael Douglas to repeat his iconic role in “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps,” a sequel once again picking on America’s, as well as his own personal nightmares.





aka: just read the teleprompter.




These nightmares stretched throughout the nineties, from controversial films about The Doors or media violence (“Natural Born Killers”), to new trilogies for a new era, a series of films about icons of the White House: “JFK” is an epic tale of conspiracy meant to arouse the dupes who still believe that Kennedy was shot by a single arrogant individual firing a single rifle from a single position but achieving multiple shots from different sides; with “Nixon” he attempted to find a grain of humanity in the original most hated president of the United States, and then two years ago he tried to replicate the formula with “W,” turning the story of the mass murdering, second most hated president, George Bush, into a hilarious comedy starring the brilliant Josh Brolin in the titular role.

He disappointed many conspiracy theory fans with “World Trade Center” by refusing to mine the official truth about the role the American government played in the September 11 attack, i.e. succumbing to the mass national hysteria and filming an ordinary drama about the sacrifice of brave firefighters trapped underneath the New York ruins. In between dissecting sports (“Any Given Sunday”) and pissing the Greeks off with his free approach to ancient topics (“Alexander”), Stone continued provoking the local establishment by making documentaries in which he dealt with the topics that American corporate media conventionally reduces to the level of black-and-white stories for children.

The first two of them were made in 2003; in the nervous but entertaining “Persona Non Grata” he managed to depict the havoc in Israel and Palestine. Unfortunately, he did not succeed in getting an interview with Yasser Arafat, which was originally supposed to have been the icing on the cake of the film. He more than compensated for it with “Commandante,” in which we see him sharing embraces, strolls around Cuba and tight car rides with none other than Fidel Castro. In 2004, after his compatriots accused him of making a communist Cuba propaganda film and entirely ignoring the dark side of the totalitarian regime, he made “Looking for Fidel,” a story about Cuban dissidents.

Last year in Venice he promoted “South of the Border,” strolling arm in arm with the protagonist of the movie, Hugo Chavez. Although he had announced that he would go to Iran to continue his depictions of individuals demonized by American politics by filming a portrait of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, last year saw his return to feature filmmaking with “Savages,” an underwhelming blend of college-boy hedonism, the contemporary motif of Mexican drug wars, teenage sexuality and severed heads stacked up on Mayan pyramids of cannabis and cocaine.

Torn between entertainment and didacticism, creative freedom and twisting the facts, Oliver Stone has been and still remains a complex personality, a “madman” who also happens to be a creative genius, the most vocal of the Hollywood leftists working as a cogwheel within the multimillion-dollar Hollywood machinery. His career, just like the history of the United States he engages with in his TV series, is not that secret or hidden, but simply fascinating.



Velimir Grgić








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