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South of the Border

4.1 out of 5 stars 54 customer reviews

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(Oct 26, 2010)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

There s a revolution underway in South America, but most of the world doesn t know it. Oliver Stone sets out on a road trip across five countries to explore the social and political movements as well as the mainstream media s misperception of South America while interviewing seven of its elected presidents. In casual conversations with Presidents Hugo Chávez (Venezuela), Evo Morales (Bolivia), Lula da Silva (Brazil), Cristina Kirchner (Argentina), as well as her husband and ex-President Nestor Kirchner, Fernando Lugo (Paraguay), Rafael Correa (Ecuador), and Raúl Castro (Cuba), Stone gains unprecedented access and sheds new light upon the exciting transformations in the region.


VENICE -- Good-humored, illuminating and without cant, Oscar-winning director Oliver Stone's documentary South of the Border; is a rebuttal of what he views as the fulminations and lies of right-wing media at home and abroad regarding the socialist democracies of South America. Featuring interviews with seven national leaders who all express great affection for their neighbors to the north if not for historical U.S. foreign policy, the film suggests a clear way forward for a continent that has largely shaken off the grip of imperialism and what Stone calls predatory capitalism as opposed to benign capitalism. Greeted with extended applause at its Venice press and industry screening, the film will fare well internationally and will attract liberal audiences in Stone's homeland. Conservative outrage could also spark wider interest, and it should thrive among educators and have a long ancillary life. Clips from CNN and Fox News establish quickly the buffoonish tone with which news about South American politics is usually treated with democratically elected leaders invariably depicted as dictators, but Stone also indicts the network news and media institutions including the New York Times. Following a brief history of the events in Venezuela that led to the presidency of Hugo Chavez, Stone shows how the media in that country altered film of violent demonstrations to show his supporters firing on their opposition and how those images were fed to the rest of the world. He details similar exaggerations in other countries and quotes facts and figures from each region. His cameras follow Chavez, who was born in poverty, to the place of his childhood and on trips to a cattle farm and a plant that produces flour with help from Iran. On the way there, Chavez tells the director - This is where we're building the Iranian atomic bomb. There is similar black humor from other leaders with Rafael Correa of Ecuador saying of the U.S. media - I'd be more worried if they spoke well of me. The expressed view of the fraternal leaders is that they want independence and equality, and freedom from the International Monetary Fund and U.S. economic control. They all see in President Barack Obama the opportunity for lasting, mutually beneficial change. Stone is clearly impressed with the leaders he meets, and there are many relaxed scenes, including one in which he gets a great kick out of Bolivian leader Evo Morales showing him the best coca leaves to chew, a benign cure for the nauseous effects of the altitude in La Paz. --Ray Bennett - The Hollywood Reporter

Special Features

  • "South American Tour" Featurette
  • "Changes in Venezuela" Featurette
  • Additional Questions for President Chávez
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Oliver Stone Argentinean Interview with Telma Luzzani
  • Oliver Stone Brazilian TV Interview with Kennedy Alencar

  • Product Details

    • Actors: Tariq Ali, Raul Castro, Hugo Chavez, Rafael Correa, Cristina Kirchner
    • Directors: Oliver Stone
    • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Surround Sound, Widescreen
    • Language: English
    • Subtitles: English
    • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
    • Number of discs: 1
    • Rated:
      Not Rated
    • Studio: Cinema Libre Studio
    • DVD Release Date: October 26, 2010
    • Run Time: 78 minutes
    • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
    • ASIN: B003XKNGLY
    • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #80,339 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
    • Learn more about "South of the Border" on IMDb

    Customer Reviews

    Top Customer Reviews

    Format: Blu-ray
    A lot is going on in this "faux documentary by one of our favorite, if not our most famous and controversial filmmaker, Oliver Stone. Although stealing a page from Michael Moore's expose playbook, to his credit, Stone has made a gallant attempt to redress the shamefully distorted images of the "fake news as propaganda" reported repeatedly by the likes of Fox News networks. In fact these embarrassing clips are used as a foil for the documentary.

    On a road/air trip crisscrossing several of the more active left-leaning countries of "the newly emerging "post-Bush II" South America," Stone engages in a series of in-depth interviews tossing a lot of softball questions to his hosts and more often than not, getting the desired and predictably one-sided responses he expected. The key players of what is referred to as the "new Bolivians" include: Cristina and Néstor Kirchner, the president and ex-presidents of Argentina; Evo Morales the democratically elected President of Bolivia; Brazil's Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva; Paraguay's Fernando Lugo; Ecuador's Rafael Correa; Cuba's Raúl Castro, and Hugo Chavez of Venezuela. In addition to giving very relaxed and frank interviews, what they all have in common is having been democratically elected and a committed desire to remove the yoke of European colonialism; redress the gross economic inequities, and end the worse of U.S. interference and meddling in their internal affairs.

    For those of us who routinely watch European news, Stone's freeform documentary is nothing new. And although Stone's political zeal and messages often get ahead of his investigative depth and accuracy, it is still a refreshing alternative to the tiring "pro-corporate propaganda" screed promoted by the views espoused through Fox News.
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    5 Comments 64 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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    Format: DVD
    I'm going to actually review the film and not try to advance a political agenda.

    South of the Border's main strength lies in its presentation of information that we don't receive in the American media. The purpose of this documentary was to address some of the lies and distortions we are regularly subjected to on our evening newscasts. In that respect, it's a resounding success. Whether or not you agree with these South American leaders' policies, you get to hear their ideas in their own words. They come across as very human and not the monsters they are often portrayed as.

    However, it is a little simple. The majority of the film consists of interviews between Stone and the leaders and there's not a whole lot of extrapolation. It kind of feels like you're sitting in on an after dinner conversation with friends. While it serves to give you a sort of familiar feeling with the subjects of the film, it doesn't really explain in great detail any of the policies or approaches. This might have been what the filmmakers were aiming for, given the short attention spans of the intended American audience. If so, it's a forgiveable error.
    2 Comments 23 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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    Format: DVD
    In his documentary SOUTH OF THE BORDER director Oliver Stone interviews several prominent leaders of South American nations. One could say Stone goes too easy on the likes of Venezuela president Hugo Chávez and other people's candidates, not asking tough questions one might expect.

    I say, it's about time! For decades American corporate media "news" has lobbed softball after softball to moneyed interests lackeys purporting to be representatives of the electorate. For once, those elected despite instead of because of those powerful forces get to have their say.

    Comment 9 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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    Format: DVD Verified Purchase
    This most interesting documentary has been broadcast on television twice, at least, in the past couple of months, and I was fortunate enough to see it both times and then ordered the DVD. Both Evo Morales and Hugo Chavez are very interesting to listen to, but Oliver Stone may have had a few stars in his eyes when he made this. It seems very one-sided as far as seeing only the good in Chavez, but if one is going to make a documentary about someone, one can hardly expect to criticize and blame. Chavez of Venezuela comes across as a very good guy in this film, but the Venezuelans that I know and know of all like him.

    The one point that came across loudest from the South American heads of state was that the United States needs to stay out of the business of these countries. South America is changing slowly, and it's going to be a new day for it, with or without the U.S. We've interfered both in Venezuela and Bolivia because these countries have oil and natural gas, respectively. Water, according to Evo Morales, the first indigenous president of Bolivia, has been a big problem since a U.S. company bought up their water company and then when Bolivian people wanted to use cisterns to collect rain water, this company said no, that they must use only the company-owned water and of course, pay for it. No free rain water.

    I encourage everyone who can to watch "South of the Border" and judge for yourself what you think of it. I enjoyed it very much and learned a thing or two. This is a documentary that I can watch over again and enjoy every time.
    Comment 8 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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