Tuesday, 10 August 2010

South of the Border

I went to see Oliver Stone's new film at the Duke of York this weekend. It is a documentary about the burgeoning leftist governments of South America.

The publicity for the film mainly refers to Stone's meetings with Hugo Chavez of Venezuela but in fact Stone has unprecedented access to a whole range of leaders - Evo Morales of Bolivia, Rafael Correa of Ecuador, Lula in Brazil, the Kirchners of Argentina, as well as Raul Castro of Cuba.

Much of the film counterposes these leaders speaking with right-wing TV stations such as Fox denouncing them in the US.

Stone reels off a list of progressive achievements in these countries compared to when leaders more friendly to US interests were in power.

Fox routinely refers to these leaders as "dictators", despite the fact that they have all been democratically elected, and despite the fact that US has for generations supported actual dictators in these places.

The film has already been attacked as a "hagiography" of Chavez - in the Western media anything short of a complete hatchet job is a "hagiography".

But what is striking about this film is that these leaders actually get the chance to speak for themselves, rather than appearing as the usual media caricatures we get over here.

If you get the chance, South of the Border is well worth a look.
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