South of The Border

South of The Border

Director: Oliver Stone

Cast: Oliver Stone, Hugo Chávez, Evo Morales, Lula da Silva

     
 

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Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez is a hero in Latin America for his willingness to stand up to the United States (both the government and the private sector) and his desire to use the nation's petroleum resources as a tool to bring a better way of life to the working class under his rule. But Chavez's policies have made him many enemies in North America, and in the

Overview

Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez is a hero in Latin America for his willingness to stand up to the United States (both the government and the private sector) and his desire to use the nation's petroleum resources as a tool to bring a better way of life to the working class under his rule. But Chavez's policies have made him many enemies in North America, and in the American news media (especially conservative outlets such as Fox News), Chavez has been demonized for his rejection of U.S. policy, his pro-socialist stance, and his openly combative stance toward George W. Bush. Are either of these extremes an accurate portrait of the real Hugo Chavez? Filmmaker Oliver Stone presents a portrait of Chavez the politician and Chavez the man in his documentary South of the Border, which is built around a series of in-depth interviews Stone conducted with the Venezuelan president. Stone also includes interviews with a number of other major Latin American leaders, among them Bolivia's Evo Morales, Argentina's Cristina Kirchner, Brazil's Lula da Silva, and Cuba's Raul Castro. South of the Border was an official selection at the 2009 Venice International Film Festival.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide
In South of the Border, Oscar-winning director Oliver Stone is afforded extraordinary access to Hugo Chávez, Raúl Castro, the Kirchners of Argentina, Paraguay's Fernando Lugo, and other heads of state and shines a light on each leader and the situation in each of their countries. Stone's initial approach to the film is to expose how U.S. foreign policy drives the way the mainstream media depicts events around the world. With clips from CNN, Fox News, and other Western media outlets, Stone quickly establishes the hawkish tone and misrepresentation that characterize how news about South American politics and the continent's democratically elected leaders -- who are invariably depicted as dictators -- is reported. Stone continues with a brief history of events in Venezuela that led to the presidency of Hugo Chávez, and as he visits with each South American leader, expresses the idea that Chávez's election sparked a new era of democratic socialism that swept across the continent like dominoes. There's no pretense of objectivity, and about 15 minutes into the film, Stone makes his first of many onscreen appearances alongside Chávez as they tour around the country visiting Chávez-loving locals and even taking a trip to the place where Chávez grew up. Stone even directs his subject through a humanizing "childhood memories" sequence in an attempt to reveal his lighter, softer side. Stone makes no secret of his fascination with the populist leader and inevitably avoids interviewing Venezuelan dissidents. This omission runs throughout the film, and perhaps the most obvious flaw of South of the Border is Stone's inability to interrogate these leaders, particularly Chávez, with whom he spends the majority of the film. He allows his subjects to direct the course of the conversation, avoiding tough questions on human rights and allegations of corruption, and lets each of the leaders defend their own regimes. Still, Stone captures a paradigm shift in South America, and there's a common thread between all of the leftist leaders elected in these countries -- they all want political and economic autonomy and to free themselves of centuries of colonial control. During the Bush administration, this idea was much harder to envision, but Stone makes sure to guide South of the Border to a hopeful conclusion and intercuts the election of Barack Obama with footage of the leaders of Latin America gathering at the Summit of the Americas in Trinidad -- save Columbia and Mexico, who Stone points out are given a pass by the U.S. government because of their cooperation with the War on Drugs. He later showcases Obama being photographed with Chávez and other leaders. South of the Border is sure to be criticized, especially by conservatives who hold a zero tolerance policy with countries that refuse to toe the line, but Stone expresses a clear way forward for a continent that has largely shaken off the grip of imperialism. It's not in-depth investigative reporting, but what he offers is an alternative view to one that's been clouded by foreign policy.

Product Details

Release Date:
10/26/2010
UPC:
0881394110724
Original Release:
2009
Source:
Cinema Libre
Region Code:
0
Presentation:
[Wide Screen]
Sound:
[Dolby Digital Stereo, Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround]
Time:
1:18:00
Sales rank:
85,254

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Hugo Chávez Participant
Evo Morales Participant
Lula da Silva Participant
Cristina Kirchner Participant
Néstor Kirchner Participant
Fernando Lugo Participant
Rafael Correa Participant
Raúl Castro Participant

Technical Credits
Oliver Stone Director
Tariq Ait Ben Ali Screenwriter
Elisa Bonora Editor
Alexis Chavez Editor
Lucas Fuica Cinematographer
Suzie Gilbert Associate Producer
Chris Hanley Executive Producer
Jose Ibanez Producer
Victor Ibanez Associate Producer
Serge Lobo Executive Producer
Carlos Marcovich Cinematographer
Jean-Pierre Marois Associate Producer
Albert Maysles Cinematographer
Adam Peters Score Composer
Juan Carlos Prieto Sound/Sound Designer
Juan Riva Executive Producer
Fernando Sulichin Producer
Tara Tremaine Associate Producer
Mark Weisbrot Screenwriter
Rob Wilson Producer

Scene Index

Oliver Stone's additional questions for Hugo Chavez (2010); Behind the scenes of the South American promotional tour; Deleted scenes; "Changes in Venezuela" ; Two South American TV interviews with Oliver Stone

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