text warez on Thu, 18 Oct 2001 08:16:37 +0200 (CEST)

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Issue of 2001-10-22
Posted 2001-10-15

On the morning before the United States bombed Afghanistan, HBO Films
presented a panel discussion, at Alice Tully Hall, entitled "Making Movies
That Matter: The Role of Filmmaking in the National Debate." The people in
the audience were restless, eager for someone to put their anger and
unease into focus, and it wasn't long before one panelist, Bob Shaye, the
C.E.O. of New Line Cinema, got them going by insisting that movies should
entertain, not explain. Referring to his studio's forthcoming "The Lord of
the Rings"  trilogy, he declared, "What the world needs now is hobbits."
As hisses filled the air, Oliver Stone, another panelist, shook his head
in disbelief. From the start of the discussion, Stone, the writer-director
of such political films as "Salvador" and "JFK," had seemed jumpy,
swivelling his thick neck like a turret gun at the sound of any
foolishness or na´vetÚ.

Now his voice rumbled up from his chest and he began to illuminate the
dark levers that move the film industry and, by extension, the world.
"There's been conglomeration under six principal princes--they're kings,
they're barons--and these six companies have control of the world," he
said, referring to such corporations as Fox and AOL Time Warner. His voice
grew louder as his ideas took shape. "Michael Eisner decides, 'I can't
make a movie about Martin Luther King, Jr.--they'll be rioting at the
gates of Disneyland!' That's bullshit! But that's what the new world order
is." There was a storm of applause. "They control culture, they control
ideas. And I think the revolt of September 11th was about 'Fuck you! Fuck
your order--;' " "Excuse me," a fellow-panelist, Christopher Hitchens,
said. " 'Revolt'?" "Whatever you want to call it," Stone said. "It was
state-supported mass murder, using civilians as missiles," said Hitchens,
a columnist for Vanity Fair and The Nation. Stone wagged his head and
continued. "The studios bought television stations," he said. "Why? Why
did the telecommunications bill get passed at midnight, a hidden bill at
midnight? The Arabs have a point! They're going to be joined by the people
who objected in Seattle, and the usual ten per cent who are against
everything, and it's going to be, like, twenty-five per cent of this
country that's against the new world order. We need a trustbuster like
Teddy Roosevelt to take the television stations away from the film
companies and give them back to the people!" 

There was more applause, and a few uncertain murmurs. "Does anybody make a
connection between the 2000 election"--for the Presidency--"and the events
of September 11th?" he asked, and added cryptically, "Look for the
thirteenth month!" He went on to say that the Palestinians who danced at
the news of the attack were reacting just as people had responded after
the revolutions in France and Russia. Afterward, the panelists had lunch
nearby, at Gabriel's. Hitchens stood outside, holding a glass of Scotch
and a trembling cigarette. He was about to leave for Pakistan. "To say
that this attack in any way resembles the French Revolution means you are
a moral idiot, as well as an intellectual idiot," he said of Stone. "The
man has completely lost it." Inside the restaurant, Stone made his way,
grinning, through the crowd. He plunged his hands into the hair of a young
female producer and tugged, asking, "Is this real?" Although it seemed to
most observers to be early afternoon, he twice observed that it was a
wonderful night. Stone sat in a booth, cradling a glass of white wine in
his hands, and remarked that he hadn't slept in days. "The new world order
is about order and control," he said. "This attack was pure chaos, and
chaos is energy. All

great changes have come from people or events that were initially
misunderstood, and seemed frightening, like madmen. Einstein, Nikola
Tesla, Gates. I think, I think . . . I think many things." He explained
how the World Bank, McDonald's, and the studios' response to the threat of
a Writers

Guild strike last year were all manifestations of the new global
conspiracy of order. "This is the time for a bullet of a film about
terrorism, like 'The Battle of Algiers' "Gillo Pontecorvo's 1966 movie
about the conflict between the French and F.L.N. terrorist cells in
Algeria, in which the director's sympathies lie with the terrorists. "You
show the Arab side and the American side in a chase film with a 'French
Connection' urgency, where you track people by satellite, like in 'Enemy
of the State.' My movie would have the C.I.A. guys and the F.B.I. guys,
but they blow it. They're a bunch of drunks from World War II who haven't
recovered from the disasters of the sixties--the Kennedy assassination and
Vietnam. My movie would show the new heroes of security, the people who
really get the job done, who know where the secrets are." And who would
that be? His eyes roamed, searching and sad. "I don't know yet."


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