South of the Border


South of the Border Review

Oliver Stone returns to Latin America for another doc about the Bolivarian movement, through which South American countries are standing up to North American imperialism. Yes, it's one-sided and unquestioning, but also eye-opening.

Unsurprisingly, Stone's main target is Fox News, which gives its usual shameless slant to stories about Latin America, referring to democratically elected presidents as "dictators" and blatantly painting them as Communist criminals. According to polls, some 70% of Americans believe these lies, which blur leaders like Chavez with the likes of Osama Bin Laden. Stone blames much of this on American arrogance in the wake of the Soviet Union's demise, and he also makes the connection with global capitalism, as US "interests" push nations to surrender their sovereignty to the International Monetary Fund.

But of course the story is much more complex, and Stone narrates the history through early clashes between Chavez and the US-supported hardline Venezuelan government, a scene that echoes later with Morales in Bolivia, Da Silva in Brazil, Correa in Ecuador, Lugo in Paraguay and the Kirchners in Argentina. In other words, the US has worked to undermine democracy simply because it means they lose control of the country in question.

This is a vitally important issue that needs to be brought to light, as it vividly shows the rampant hypocrisy in the US government and how American media are manipulating a gullible public. Stone documents everything carefully, showing the brutal history of CIA assassinations over the decades and how this backhanded imperialism has kept South America under the north's thumb. So as these nations band together as Bolivarians, harking back to a previous battle against a colonial power, it's no wonder that US big-business is waging a propaganda war while the American government engages in politics of control.

With such strong material, it's a shame Stone doesn't quite tell the whole story. His approach is extremely one-sided, never entertaining criticisms and refusing to ask tough questions of these lively and charismatic Latino (and one Latina) leaders who had the nerve to stand up to George W Bush and the IMF.

These are smart and clever people who are demanding equality and respect: two things they are due regardless of Stone's political leanings.

South of the Border

Facts and Figures

Genre: Documentaries

Run time: 78 mins

In Theaters: Thursday 3rd June 2010

Box Office USA: $0.2M

Distributed by: Cinema Libre

Production compaines: Good Apple Productions, Ixtlan, Muse Productions, New Element Productions

Reviews 3.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 50%
Fresh: 27 Rotten: 27

IMDB: 7.0 / 10

Cast & Crew


Producer: Jose Ibanez, , , Robert S. Wilson

Starring: Tariq Ali as Himself, Raúl Castro as Himself, Hugo Chavez as Himself, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner as Herself, Rafael Correa as Himself, Fernando Lugo as Himself, as Himself, Evo Morales as Himself, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva as Himself