The director once again dismantles the official version of Kennedy’s assassination based on declassified documents in the documentary ‘JFK: Case Revisited’
Oliver Stone (New York, 1946) believes that the United States lost its innocence on November 22, 1963. The country stopped believing in its institutions after the assassination of President Kennedy and nothing was ever the same. In 1991, the director dismantled the official thesis on the assassination in ‘JFK’, an overwhelming, extraordinary film, in which he combined real documentary material and fiction to try to demonstrate how Lee Harvey Oswald was a scapegoat: the CIA and the services secrets were behind a ‘coup d’état’ that changed the world forever. More than a hundred actors, including Jack Lemmon, Ed Asner, Joe Pesci, Walter Matthau, Donald Sutherland and Gary Oldman, starred in a film that adopted the gaze of New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison, played by Kevin Costner. Two Oscars, for its prodigious editing and photography, certify that this is one of Stone’s best films.
Thirty-one years later, the director of ‘Platoon’ re-enlists the great cinematographer Robert Richardson (‘Casino’, ‘Kill Bill’, ‘Once Upon a Time in… Hollywood’) for ‘JFK: Case Revisited’, another magnificent, exhaustive documentary made from the declassified documents since 2017. Of course, John Williams is no longer behind the music and the stars have been replaced by Stone himself, who wanders through Dallas’ Dealey Plaza, “still the scene crime”, in search of the elusive truth. The director has presented a film at the Barcelona Film Fest that debunks the ‘magic bullet’ theory and shows that Oswald was not even in the library from which he is supposed to have shot. The CIA and the FBI manipulated all the evidence and the Warren Commission report is a hoax that the author of ‘Natural Born Assassins’ dismantles step by step.
“I have waited thirty years for this documentary, I could have done it sooner. I made a film that was a dramatic interpretation of the assassination, lasting three hours and eight minutes. A very complicated film that was doomed to failure », he recalls. “I was prepared for it, but I was surprised that it worked so well. I guess part of the reason was that there was love for President Kennedy, in 1991 people still remembered him. It was like the beginning of a new appreciation for Kennedy. More books came out and the phenomenon surprised the whole world, not just in the US.
‘JFK: Case reviewed’ begins and ends with two speeches by the president. In the first of them he proclaims his hope that the world will live in peace, but not “a pax imposed by the United States, but one that makes life worth living.” Within a few minutes, Stone’s talent as a storyteller shines through as he describes the murder from documentary footage. Dejected, journalist Walter Cronkite removes his glasses as events unfold: Jackie Kennedy trying to escape from the car with a piece of her husband’s brain in her hand, footage of the state funeral, Jack Ruby shooting Oswald as he is being carried … The pantomime of the Warren Commission, which included CIA director Allen Dulles, whom Stone points to as the mastermind of the conspiracy, established that Oswald was the sole perpetrator. The footage of Abraham Zapruder, a Dallas tailor who recorded the parade, cast doubt on that official version, as did the two million documents that Trump declassified five years ago and that anyone can consult in the Maryland Archives.
“Some accused me of having distorted history, branded me a conspirator, but I don’t do that,” Stone clarifies. “This case fascinates me. We have Oswald, the assassin, who has many connections with intelligence agents, especially with the CIA. He is used by the CIA in Russia, New Orleans, Dallas… I have followed his path and it is a mystery. I always doubted that he was on the sixth floor. Edgar Hoover and the FBI quickly closed the case: it was Oswald, three bullets from the sixth floor. Final point. There wasn’t much research beyond this, except by private citizens who disagreed with that explanation. A gangster named Jack Ruby killed the killer and case closed.”
An image from ‘JFK: Case Reviewed’.
According to the director, the trial would have been “a joke.” “There was no chain of custody of the evidence: the rifle, the bullets, the fingerprints… Everything disappeared in this assassination. No judge in the United States could have judged this case. We have a president, the most important figure in the United States, and he has not had a decent autopsy. There were more than three or four shots, Oswald was never on the sixth floor, he was on the second because that was where he had been told he had to be. The shots came from another building and from the hedge. Kennedy was caught in the crossfire. This is not a closed case, it is very open, because the American public has been misinformed.”
The witnesses and evidence are devastating. The ‘magic bullet’ that passed through two bodies, the weapon without traces, the autopsy… The accumulation of irregularities sought to incriminate Oswald at all costs, a former marine who had lived for a time in the Soviet Union and is suspected of being a double agent . The CIA had him so closely watched that even his mother’s phone was tapped. The documentary, which includes a couple of fragments of the first ‘JFK’ and the voice of Whoopi Goldberg and Donald Sutherland as narrators, maintains that Kennedy’s open foreign policy was what condemned him. The CIA misinformed the president about the Bay of Pigs disaster, handed over Congolese Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba, whom JFK had promised protection, to his enemies, and even lied to him about an alleged coup in France to overthrow de Gaulle. . Kennedy wanted to stop sending troops to Vietnam and advocated a rapprochement with the USSR, to which he was considering proposing a joint space mission. The most horrifying testimony of the film comes from Robert F. Kennedy Jr, who recalls that, as soon as the assassination was known, his father called the CIA headquarters in Langley: “Have you perpetrated this atrocity?”
“Why was Kennedy killed?” asks Stone, who earned a Purple Heart fighting in Vietnam. «We know that in 1964 he was not going to be re-elected, that in the South he was not going to win. He wanted to end segregation, the southerners hated him. And in Texas, also for ending privileges, they saw him as someone dangerous, like another Roosevelt. Kennedy had two brothers, they saw that dynasty as a danger. Kennedy once said that he wasn’t sure he was in charge of the government. That’s scary, huh? ‘JFK: Case Revisited’ concludes with Kennedy’s memorable civil rights speech: “Those who do nothing promote shame as well as violence. Those who act with courage admit what is right, as well as reality, “said the last American president, who, according to Oliver Stone, tried to change things.
An image from ‘JFK: Case Reviewed’.
“In America we manufacture the most expensive weapons and sell them to regimes with which we cooperate. We have to continue this game of creating tension that allows us to sell more weapons,” he illustrates. “At the CIA they know very well how to fabricate coups, we did it successfully in Ukraine in 2014. They put a president against Russia. And this has brought us to the current situation. Anyone who knows history knows that it is a matter of cause and effect. When you think of America you have to think like a Doberman, it is a vicious and murderous animal. We have too much money, we have nothing else to do. We cause problems.” For Stone, control of the media is crucial in today’s world. “The war in Ukraine is a good example. All the media in Europe and America are aligned: the Russians are the bad guys and the US is the good guys. It is sad to see how Joe Biden is in the hands of conservatives in Washington. He is an Irish Catholic, like Kennedy, although it would be nice if he was more like him. I’m sorry to say he’s too old for this job, but I don’t see a solution with Trump either… I’m sorry I voted for Biden, but I couldn’t vote for Trump.”
Stone knows Vladimir Putin well, interviewing him a dozen times over several years for a documentary series, as he has done with leaders like Oliver Stone and Hugo Chavez. “I do not separate Putin from the state, he is the president of Russia,” he remarks. “I last saw him three years ago. The press calls him crazy, irresponsible, he mentions Hitler, Stalin… All this has nothing to do with the man I knew. A very rational person, calm, thoughtful, like a game of chess. In my opinion, he has always acted in the interests of Russia. He is a son of Russia, as he always says, it is a very important distinction to understand. He implies patriotism but not nationalism. He implies love for Russia ».
#Oliver #Stone #America #Doberman
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