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Art, authorship and activism

This book charts and analyses the work of Oliver Stone – arguably one of the foremost political filmmakers in Hollywood during the last thirty years. Drawing on previously unseen production files from Oliver Stone’s personal archives and hours of interviews both with Stone and a range of present and former associates within the industry, the book employs a thematic structure to explore Stone’s life and work in terms of war, politics, money, love and corporations. This allows the authors both to provide a synthesis of earlier and later film work as well as locate that work within Stone’s developing critique of government. The book explores the development of aesthetic changes in Stone’s filmmaking and locates those changes within ongoing academic debates about the relationship between film and history as well as wider debates about Hollywood and the film industry. All of this is explored with detailed reference to the films themselves and related to a set of wider concerns that Stone has sought to grapple with -the American Century, exceptionalism and the American Dream, global empire, government surveillance and corporate accountability. The book concludes with a perspective on Stone’s ‘brand’ as not just an auteur and commercially viable independent filmmaker but as an activist arguing for a very distinct kind of American exceptionalism that seeks a positive role for the US globally whilst eschewing military adventurism.

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Civil rites of passage

), for example. But these films, like Spike Lee’s Malcolm X (1992) and A Huey P. Newton Story (2001), fall outside of the broad (predominantly white) mainstream cinematic tradition. More usually, black activists (CORE and SNCC) and protagonists (Medgar Evers, Martin Luther King Jr.) have been caught in an epistemological drift, their stories dispersed and scattered through narratives in which white

in Memory and popular film

and his love for Nina, his informant. In the two films that Dienstag analyzes, the female protagonists are torn between three romantic possibilities which correspond to different sides of themselves and different positions in the social order. Initially, Elizabeth’s affair with Gregory would seem an obvious parallel. He is a radical black activist, who shares her political

in Cinema, democracy and perfectionism
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wake of the Great Depression, Wallace nevertheless represented the radical wing of the Democrat Party that some activists feared. Therefore, the convention outcome derailed any possibility that his 1943 riposte to Luce, The Century of the Common Man, would ever become post-​war policy.84 Beyond the lionisation of Wallace, Stone and Kuznick took a highly critical perspective on Truman: that despite being diligent in his efforts to succeed in both business and politics, and gifted to a degree, crucial personal limitations left him particularly ill-​suited to the

in The cinema of Oliver Stone
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back as he could remember.65 Stone wrote South of the Border with the campaigner, writer and activist Tariq Ali, and their response to criticism of the film’s historicism was to call upon a variation of John Stuart Mill’s On Liberty (1859).66 Implicitly framing Mill’s ‘marketplace of ideas’ contention within the broader discussion of Chávez, they both assumed the US media to be as guilty of censorship as the US government was in covering up or burying news that it did not want the public to or engage with or hear. Stone’s view was that the US government, aided and

in The cinema of Oliver Stone
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Quentin Crisp as Orlando’s Elizabeth I

of heritage cinema, and how it could accommodate – or be reconfigured by – queerness, a further topic of debate at the time of Orlando ’s making related to cinematic stereotyping. The year 1987 saw the publication of the revised, expanded edition of The Celluloid Closet , US gay rights activist Vito Russo’s historical account of the limited stereotypes used by mainstream cinema to represent lesbian

in The British monarchy on screen