Oliver Stone: From My Lai to Ahmadinejad

After ingratiating the Right with his last film “World Trade Center,” even going so far as hiring the Swift Boaters to promote it, Oliver Stone now has proposed a couple of new projects that look like he’s trying to fuck with them. Or maybe he’s stilll fucking with the left, who have already been feeling somewhat betrayed by his political inconsistency. Or just fucking with us all.

Certainly his proposed film “Pinkville,” his re-enactment of the My Lai masacre, isn’t going delight his former Republican benefactors, not after President Bush informed us that Vietnam IS like Iraq, and that’s a good thing  So a reminder of an atrocity in which 400 plus unarmed civilans including women and children were systematically executed by GIs isn’t going to help the cause. Not when two new films about Iraq suggest that when an immoral govern puts decent American soldiers into a brutal and confused war environment for repeated tours of duty with no goal and sight and tacit authority to use whatever means make sense at the time, stuff happens. After seeing Paul Haggis’s “In the Valley of Elah” yesterday, though, all I can say is the “Crash” master’s graceless manipulative hand remains the same and he should score political points with the already converted and earn Oscar nominations from the aesthetically clueless. Brian De Palma’s “Redacted,” on the other hand, which wowed them at the Venice Festival, is a different story. Based on a 2006  incident in which U.S. soldiers were accused of raping a 14-year-old Iraqi girl and then killing her and her family, it looks it might have some of the intensity of his Vietnam War-set “Casualties of War" (1989), one of his best and clearest-headed films.

Back to Stone, however, whose second project might prove even more irritating to some than the first. After his initial offer to make a documentary about Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad were rebuffed with him being denounced as part of the “great Satan” and Stone retorting “I wish the Iranian people well, and hope their experience with an inept, rigid ideologue president goes better than ours,” cooler heads apparently have prevailed and the movie buff Iranian spitfire has given the green light. All I can say is that they better get a move on if they want to start shooting before the bombing starts, or maybe that’s the kind of scenario Stone is hoping for.

All in all, though, I must admit I’ve been disillusioned with the effectiveness of movies making any difference in the overall scheme of things -- that is until I read this item in “Variety.” It seems that an Israeli website called “Ratuv” (Hebrew for “wet”) has won a lot of fans in Arab countries, some hostile to Israeli, with its politically savvy porn flicks featuring soldiers and Mossud agents engaged in non-violent undercover and undressed activity. This is clearly taking the slogan “Make love not war” at its word. Personally, I feel vindicated, since the last time I checked out the Internet Searches log for this site it consisted almost entirely of headings like  "sexiest scene," "blow-job non pornographic,"Tim Allen  nude," "tom hanks urinating scene," "blow jobs," and "sexiest sex scene."

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