Viewers have the chance to experience the four hours of edited footage where Putin presents his point of view and perspective—the ones that Americans don’t seem eager to hear because of the moral hypocrisy which Stone claims.
Stone repeatedly blamed the media for collectively brainwashing the American people, recalling the conformity that currently dominates American thinking. Stone has made a lifelong habit of going against the political grain, most notably with JFK, where he was savaged by Time Magazine before the movie was released. He has been under close media scrutiny ever since.
His latest film, Snowden, carries on this tradition of controversy. We met him during the press conference at Lucca Film Festival in Italy where he pointed out that:
“I’ve done many political films so far, but to me most important thing is to portray the people’s struggle for power, even in small situations and with individuals like in my films U-Turn or Natural Born Killers.
After Snowden I shot a new documentary called “Conversations with Mr. Putin” based on straight-ahead discussion over many issues, without being mediated by any translator. In the West, we usually don’t listen to what Putin is really saying, and as a result we simply interpret all his speeches, the ideas that he has, the way that we want to. What I can say is that he is an extremely rational man, not like Bush or Trump. I’m trying to finish it sometime early this year.”
When I asked Stone if he intends to integrate his discussions with Putin after the news of President Donald Trump’s bombing of the Assad base in Syria he replied:
“There’s a strategy of tension directed at Russia in the western world. It’s happening all the time, every month, every day; there will always be crisis. Our conversations over the past two years, twenty plus hours, were about everything, about life, about philosophy; I was trying to introduce the man to the west, to let them listen for a change. If you’re going to declare Putin your enemy, which we have, you should know who your enemy is. This is my philosophy and this was my approach to this project. I would shoot this film forever but at some point it has to come out so the people can hear Putin in a new and freer way”.
Once again Oliver Stone becomes part of world events being recorded, documenting the essence of his rendezvous with the Russian president, bringing another political segment of unveiled history to a larger audience.
Words by Alexander Darkish and Richard Trainor