South Of The Border (2010/Cinema Libre DVD) + Cuban Rebel Girls (1960)/Untamed
Women (1952/VCI DVD) + Eyes Wide
Open (2008/First Run DVD)
Picture: C+ Sound: C+ Extras: C+/D/B- Films: B-/C+/D/B-
look at politics, it never ceases to amaze me how once someone gets going on
their ideology, they mistake that for reality.
One thing that happens is oversimplification. Disaster often results. Three new DVD releases reminded me of how
that works and how some things never change.
comes filmmaker Oliver Stone’s trip to all the major countries of South America
in South Of The Border (2010), his
crash course history lesson on how the continent has been exploited for eons by
so many and as he interviews all the leaders of each country, we discover how
they are the first indigenous people elected to run their respective countries,
how vilified they have been without being heard and how they are breaking off
with the U.S. as debtors via the International Monetary Fund. It is a major change for all the countries
down there, now in control more than ever of their natural resources and
intending to put that money back into their countries as they grow them. For practicing socialism, they all seem
possibly poised to launch as a new version of the European Union, which could
change the world economy in way China,
Russia and the U.S. could do
this was educational, some of it unbelievable and some unintentionally
revealing, but it makes for key viewing and says as much about what it does not
address as what it does. Then it is more
interesting when compared to the hilarious Errol Flynn docudrama Cuban Rebel Girls (1960), where
pro-American Flynn celebrates the young women helping out Che Guevara and Fidel
Castro throw out the U.S.
supported dictatorship! The mix of
actors, documentary footage and Flynn’s narration is a howler, but also shows
that the current dichotomy of anything left being anti-American was not always
so and in broad ways. This was also
known as Assault Of The Rebel Girls.
Untamed Women (1952) was included here because
it is worse as an Air Force plane finds a group of native women (who look
suspiciously like bad Hollywood extras)
descended from druids live on the island they have found and may be marked for
death. Can they escape? Can we
is the drama Eyes Wide Open (2009)
which happens to address two groups suspiciously absent from the “everyone’s
included” Oliver Stone film, Jews and gay males. This badly entitled work (sounding like yet
another party who did not get Stanley Kubrick’s last film) might have done
better with a better title. In an
ultra-orthodox Jewish community (Hasidic?) a married butcher named Aaron (Zohar
Shtrauss) is married and has a good family, but when a young man comes into his
life (Ran Danker), they start to become involved intimately and sexually. Erzi (Danker) is active already, but when
certain men in the community find out, they start to harass them and worse.
surprised by the criticism of the community, homophobia and even breaking a
window in the Kristallnacht form. It is
daring, biting, bold and important, showing the extreme side of being
“righteous” and how that results in hypocrisy, homophobia and outright hate.
Stone and company, these are countries that have not addressed these minorities
and that will continue to be an issue, no matter what other progress they
have. And to think the debates these
films represent are far from over.
releases are anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 productions shot in digital video
that is at least partly High Definition.
They have motion blur, detail issues and other flaws that hold back the
overall performance, but are watchable enough.
The 1.33 X 1 black and white image on the two VCI films show their age
and Cuban in particular has a mix of
35mm and 16mm film. All have Dolby
Digital 2.0 sound, with monophonic sound on the older VCI films and newer
simple stereo on the new productions.
Border includes behind the scenes of
the South American promotional tour, Deleted Scenes, Two South America TV
Interviews with Stone, Stone’s Additional Questions for Hugo Chavez and the featurette
Changes In Venezuela. The double feature has no extras, but Eyes
has a good interview with its director, Haim Tabakman.
- Nicholas Sheffo