Oliver Stone's America: Dreaming the Myth Outward

Oliver Stone's America: Dreaming the Myth Outward

Oliver Stone's America: Dreaming the Myth Outward

Oliver Stone's America: Dreaming the Myth Outward

Synopsis

Susan Mackey-Kallis analyses the work of Oliver Stone, and places him in the tradition of American political filmmaking. She argues that Stone's films are mythological constructions based on historical events and personae.

Excerpt

Cinema derives not from painting, literature, sculpture, theater, but from ancient popular wizardry. It is the contemporary manifestation of an evolving history of shadows, a delight in pictures that move, a belief in magic. Its lineage is entwined from the earliest beginning with priests and sorcery, a summoning of phantoms.

--Jim Morrison

You know what made photographers great, Rich? They weren't after money--they captured the nobility of human suffering. That's what Capra caught, he caught that moment of death. You got to get close, Rich, to get the truth. You get too close, you die.

--John Cassady, in Salvador

I'm not afraid to see. I come in here every night. I make my case. I make my point. I say what I believe in. I tell you what you are. I have to; I have to; I have no choice. You frighten me.

--Barry Champlain, in Talk Radio

In this chapter, various sociomythological themes and their constructions are explored in The Doors (1991), Salvador (1986), and Talk Radio (1988). All three films reflexively ruminate on the artist-visionary's responsibility to take a stance on issues of sociopolitical importance. At the same time, these films acknowledge the difficulty of doing so in a world where the "good guys," the "bad guys," and "the right thing to do" are often moving targets.

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