Hollywood is still the movie capital, but American culture is not always welcome in Europe these days.
The Zurich Film Fest seems to have tried to finesse that tension by choosing Oliver Stone to receive 2007 Golden Eye honors.
The announcement of Stone’s honor said the fest would show films “in which he critically examines and questions American society” — as if to reassure Bush-hating Europeans that Stone is as anti-American as they are.
Stone, though, has a way of confounding expectations.
“I’m proud to be an American, I’ve said so, proud of my country, proud to have a chance to make these films,” Stone tells Variety. “On the other hand, I think America is about dissent and the right to criticize. I’ve been much criticized for criticizing our conduct of the war in Iraq, Vietnam and various other things.”
Last year he also took a mostly apolitical film, “World Trade Center” to the Venice Film Festival.
“We sensed enormous anti-Americanism last year coming against not just the film but the whole idea, against what had happened to Oliver Stone. Had he had his brain shrunk?” he observes.
But Stone felt the story was a story of individual survival, beyond politics.
Furthermore he says that in his future projects, “Each story will take me to its own style.”
At Zurich he may screen his 3-hour, 40-minute DVD cut of “Alexander,” which he says is “the right version,” but generally he says he has no agenda at Zurich, other than having fun and “keeping my brand of filmmaking out there in front of Europeans, who’ve always been a very good audience for me.”
But he does confess to a special affection for Switzerland, which he notes is the world’s oldest democracy.
“They may only have invented the fucking cuckoo clock, but goddammit they haven’t hurt a lot of people.”