JFK Revisited: Through the Looking Glass is a kind of non-fiction annex to one of the most controversial films of Oliver stone. It is likely that the documentary, which premieres Monday at the Cannes Film Festival, lead to another round of discussions about the American tragedy and Stone’s methods. But for the 74-year-old filmmaker it was a way to respond to his critics and delve into a story with which he will always be linked.
“I was relatively a newbie when that movie came out. I was naive. I didn’t know they were going to hit me like that and it was harsh, ” Stone said in an interview.” He turned around like I wasn’t trustworthy. In Hollywood I was labeled a ‘conspiracy theorist’, which I think is a term from a 1952 CIA document, an attempt to discredit people. But the public liked the movie. “
JFK‘was nominated for eight Oscars, including for best picture, and won two. Starring Kevin Costner, raised more than 200 million dollars. But it was also surrounded by questions about its feasibility. JFK Revisited it also raises doubts. Several streaming services refrained from distributing it in part for fact-checking. At Cannes, the film has gotten premieres in several countries and is looking for a distributor in the United States.
The two-hour documentary, which was originally twice as long, does not comment on who killed Kennedy. It is based in part on millions of government files that have been released in the years since JFK. In 2017, President Donald Trump delayed the release of more documents, citing national security.
JFK Revisited delves into the inconsistencies in Kennedy’s autopsy, the handling of key evidence, and the alleged links of Lee Harvey Oswald, Kennedy’s assassin, to the CIA. And his deepest suspicions – not unlike in JFK– They are towards the US intelligence services.
“I think the most important thing is why President Kennedy was assassinated, ” Stone said.” We responded with our evidence that he was withdrawing from Vietnam. The detente with Cuba was under way. The nuclear test ban treaty had been signed. He was looking for a détente with Russia. He was an anti-colonialist. ”
Kevin Costner, the protagonist of “JFK”, talks with the director. Photo WB
Vitnamite soil experience
Stone, whose films include Platoon Y Born on the Fourth of July, fought in the Vietnam War.
“I came in like a hawk. I thought we were doing the right thing, ” he said.” Even when I left Vietnam, I was not an activist. It takes years to re-educate ourselves. And I was discovering more. By the time I did (JFK), I didn’t know what I know now. The history of this country is muddy. We haven’t counted it. ”
Oliver Stone was interviewed shortly before the premiere of his documentary. AP Photo
In movies like Wall street, Nixon Y W, Stone has traced, through his own provocative lens, much of the last 50 years of American history in films that gave political figures striking portraits on the big screen. But his relationship with both Hollywood and Washington has waned in recent years. His last fiction film was Snowden‘from 2016, which featured Edward Snowden as an American hero. It was laborious to obtain financing and its premiere was hardly noticed.
“It broke my spirit,” Stone said.
His skepticism of American democracy has only grown. “A plutocracy is more precise, ” he said, citing the influence of money on elections.“ Democracy is a strange word. It is under discussion. ”
An image from the film “JFK”, which was a candidate for 8 Oscars. Photo WB
At the same time, Stone has been drawn to meet and document some of the world’s dictators and strongmen. He extensively interviewed Russian President Vladimir Putin for a Showtime series that was criticized as flattering. He has conducted interviews with Fidel Castro and Hugo Chávez and is currently preparing a series with former Kazakh leader Nursultan Nazarbayev.
“What attracted me to those figures was that they are balancing the United States, which cannot be the only power in the world. I think Henry Kissinger would agree with me. I think Machiavelli would agree with me,” Stone said. ” The balance of power is the only way this world can be free from a single control, a single tyrant. That is the real tyrant. USA”.
“I’m not a bad guy,” Stone added. “And I don’t love dictators.”
The film “JFK” grossed US $ 200 million in 1991. And it won two Oscars, for best cinematography and edition. Photo WB
Regarding his relationship with Hollywood, he said he tries not to think too much: “I’m just trying to move on. ” At Cannes, he also presented his director’s cut of JFK. But when you consider the kinds of movies being made in America today, you see little political research or international perspective.
“I find that a lot of American filmmakers would be very good, but they deal with crime issues, which is on TV all the time. They are very good with violence. Except for a few, they never go against American foreign policy. Which is wrong. It’s wrong. ”
“America is censoring itself. It is censoring Facebook, it is censoring the former president. We are scared. We are afraid to hear the truth, ” Stone continued.” Sometimes you have to listen to the Alex Joneses of the world. You have to have different points of view. ”
From an AP note