Oliver Stone wants to change your mind. In South of the Border, Stone sets out to provide a convincing alternative depiction of oft-demonized Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. Through extensive interviews with Chavez and other South American leaders, Stone makes the case that Latino leftists are significantly less malignant than the U.S. media would suggest. In fact, the underlying implication is that American petroleum lust is the primary reason for their bad rep. He makes some hard hits against both the Bush administration and the major news outlets (yes, even the so-called liberal media). However, he doesn’t once talk to any of Chavez’s detractors and rarely asks hard-hitting questions of his subjects. The film relies exclusively on sound bites and cherry-picked news clips to provide the voice of the mainstream. Clearly, if Stone is able to sit down with Raúl Castro and Hugo Chavez for one-on-one chats, he’s capable of scoring some face time with their opponents. It’s a disappointing lack of balance to an incisive documentary that otherwise succeeds in presenting a startlingly fresh perspective.
At 4:30 p.m. at AFI Silver Theater 1.