[Updated] So Chavez took some time off from his visit of the world's tyrants to visit the Venice film festival where his paid accomplice Oliver Stone (1), noted director of movies dedicated to conspiracy theories, was presenting his "South of the Border", an alleged documentary of "progressive" leaders of South America.
Now, I was not planning to write on this silly event. After all, since the in-famous and duly debunked "Revolution shall not be televised", I know that this type of movies is mere propaganda presented in a relatively palatable form. You know, like the movies of Eisenstein, but without the gorgeous scores of Prokofiev or the stunning symbolism of the Odessa staircase.
However watching the news tonight on French TV made me write this note. See, the French are not buying it. They reported of the Venice visit by Chavez in the fluff section at the end of the newscast, right before a report on the world championship of plowing in Slovenia, won this year by a Belgian plower. I am not making this up.
They started by mentioning that "after having visited Ahmadinejad, Qaddafi ... Hugo Chavez stopped in Venice". Clearly, the French viewer is placed in front of the reality, a guy that spends days visiting such creepy leaders cannot be taken seriously. That impression is of course confirmed when we see scenes of Chavez AGAIN taking pictures of the journalists, and the words "il est très fort" which in the context they were say did not mean he is good, but rather he got chutzpah and media manipulation savvy. Then we hear some of the silly words of Stone defending his hero by stating that he was some kind of superhero, you know, comic book like. He said that Chavez was open and tolerant, something I am sure his latest political prisoner would agree with if he is ever shown the movie in his new jail quarters.
The newscast took pain to point out that other progressive presidents of South America were in the show but that the real hero was Chavez (Apparently Bachelet is not glamour enough for Stone to be interviewed as he prefers the colorful kind, like the one looking like the people as he played soccer with his body guards, as seen in the movie).
With some cruelty the newscast mentioned that Stone was there to " redorer le blasondemocratique", refurbish, re-gild, the democratic coat of arms of Chavez. The implication is that if such a coat or arms needs to be refurbished it is because, well, it has been quite tarnished...
At the end the journalist states that opponents of Chavez are not going to pay to watch that movie, which is a delicate way to imply that there is no need to watch it, that it is that bad, a prayer for the believer.
PS: in addition to The Independent review indicated above I suggest the Telegraph one where you will be amused learning that Chavez had 50 body guards for the movie show, and that he did not do the traditional boat arrival at the Lido because he suffers from sea sickness. Some hero....
1) I have of course no way to know for sure whether Oliver Stone gets a direct stipend from Chavez. He probably does not need it anyway however he does need funding for his movies. In addition he has been wined and dined by Chavez for days in a row, notably during the "Emmanuel" episode of FARC hostage release. Considering the qualities of the man offering that money, considering how Oliver Stone is willing to disregard all the abuses of Chavez, even if Oliver Stone does not get direct cash we can consider him to be on Chavez payroll anyway.
By the way, Stone did criticize Obama while praising Chavez. 'nuf said.
UPDATE: Petkoff mini editorial on Oliver Stone
One might even be sympathetic to people like Noam Chomsky or Oliver Stone. They are part of a left so very, very powerless in their own country, that every time they see a Third World military such as Chávez or a guerrilla, even one of papier-mache as the ineffable Marcos, who sticks his finger in the eye to gringos - verbally, of course - they cling to their epaulets and live, then, vicariously, the "revolution" for which they feel that there's no room in [North] America.
So there we must offer a bit of indulgence with the political idiocy that characterizes them. Only political cretinism, because, on the other hand, these are people whose talent can not be ignored. And this is why their behavior is so damaging.
They are not mercenaries or bought. Unlike rabble like Ignacio Ramonet, for example, who everyone knows is a cynic who charges Chavez for writing in his favor, Stone and Chomsky are honest people who believe in what they say and who are also outstanding in their specific fields of knowledge. Would we not have discovered faster the treachery that was the Soviet Union had it not not been for hundreds and hundreds of some of the brightest intellectuals of the world singing the praises of daddy Stalin and his successors ? Now we have Oliver Stone to sell the world the image of Chacumbele [Chavez], based on lot the tall tales he sold him and that Stone bought without even making an inventory, not even bothering to compare them against some piece of the Venezuelan reality.
You read that immense and river like book that Neruda's Canto General is and when you stumble on the "Song of Stalin", yet one wonders how could Neruda, with all his genius, could write such a great stupidity. One wonders if this Oliver Stone of "South of the Border" is the same as the one of "Platoon".