Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Oliver Stone's "Untold History of the United States" is not

Français : 66ème Festival du Cinéma de Venise ...
Français : 66ème Festival du Cinéma de Venise (Mostra), 6ème jour (07/09/2009) Oliver Stone (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Having watched the first four episodes of Stone's Showtime documentary, I have to register my disappointment.  I have always found Stone's controversial films to be challenging, entertaining and intriguing.  Yes, he takes liberties with the historical facts, e.g., inserting the mysterious Donald Southerland character in "JFK" to ground his conspiracy theory.  But he often has succeeded in presenting fresh perspectives on historical figures and events --- from the Vietnam War to Nixon to George W. Bush.

By contrast, I find nothing much fresh or "untold" about his docu-series so far.   In essence, Stone is presenting the "Revisionist" theory of the Cold War:  it was not Soviet aggression or an International Communist plot to rule the world that precipitated the Cold War.  Rather, it was American greed and paranoia about Communism that were the causes.  Frankly, I studies this theory in graduate school in the 1970s.  I am seeing little or nothing new here.

All the same, as a history junky, I am enjoying the film footage Stone has spliced together.  The series is worth watching... just don't let him kid you that he has come up with something that no one else has ever said before.  Here's the Showtime website for it:


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