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Close Encounter with Oliver Stone at 2016 Rome Film Fest

During the 2016 Rome Film Fest, Oliver Stone met the public, discussing his movies and American politics and society.

2 minutes

 

Seventy years old, with more than forty years spent working as a screenwriter and director, Oliver Stone is surely one of the most important figures of American cinema. During the 11th Rome Film Fest, he met the public, discussing his movies and American politics and society.

 

His life and films are deeply influenced by his experience as a soldier during the war in Vietnam, where he fought in 1967. After the war, he studied at New York University and then began directing his first short movies.

 

Still from Platoon © 1986 Orion Pictures

Still from Platoon © 1986 Orion Pictures

 

In 1983, he wrote the script for Scarface by Brian De Palma, and in 1986 he directed Salvador and Platoon. With the latter, in which he shows his personal experiences in Vietnam, he won four Academy Awards. When talking about this movie during the encounter, Stone said it took ten years to produce: nobody wanted to finance the script and so he produced it autonomously.
In 1991, he directed JFK. He says he was inspired by Rashomon by Akira Kurosawa, making a fractioned movie about the death of Kennedy. Stone, as many others, strongly opposes the theory that Lee Harvey Oswald, the Louisianan activist who assassinated Kennedy in 1963, acted alone.
Another important movie is Nixon. A scene from this movie, which was shown during the encounter, lead Stone to an interesting analysis of American politics. In his opinion, since 1945, the government of the United States of America have exaggerated the fear of the enemy, always finding excuses to attack. Particularly after the collapse of the World Trade Center, American society has lived in a state of security based on strong surveillance. With the movie Wall Street (1987), Stone also criticizes American capitalism, and describes it as a wild animal that destroys employment.

 

Still of Born on the Fourth of July © 1989 Universal Pictures

Still of Born on the Fourth of July © 1989 Universal Pictures

 

The most touching moment of this close encounter with Oliver Stone was the projection of a scene from Born on the Fourth of July. In this movie, Tom Cruise is a Vietnam veteran who was injured during the war and forced to spend the rest of his life in a wheelchair. In the scene, he is at the 1972 Republican National Convention. He tries to denounce the unjust treatment he received as a member of the American army by his very own country, saying that the Government has lied to him and many other soldiers who fought in Vietnam. However, he is ejected from the hall without any mercy because of his choice to speak up. After having shown this scene to the public at the festival, Oliver Stone revealed that, in his nightmares, he is in that wheelchair, screaming and shouting without anyone listening to him. He says that, in the USA, very few people protest: the majority endures the common opinion.

 

The encounter ended with a scene from an Italian movie, Novecento (“1900”) by Bernardo Bertolucci, chosen by Stone. Stone made this choice both to make a homage to Bertolucci and to convey his final message of the day: contemporary cinema has to embrace the social mission it is supposed to have, denounce the troubles and the imperfections of our society, and reveal the injustices that undermine the world we live in.

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