Outstanding American filmmaker Oliver Stone celebrates his 75th birthday on September 15. Like Stone’s extraordinary personality, his work evoked a variety of responses – from three Oscars and five Golden Globes to fierce criticism.
Yes, it was his cinematographic work that brought him worldwide fame and recognition – a director, producer, screenwriter. But Stone’s life is much richer than cinema, and first of all it is the life of a citizen who deeply worries about his country and what trace it leaves in world history.
In his youth, he dropped out of the prestigious Yale University to teach English in Vietnam, and then returned to this country already a soldier to fight for American ideals. After seeing how the US actually wages a war, rather than what Hollywood cinema represents, Stone has become a staunch anti-war. He studied cinema at New York University with Martin Scorsese. At the same time, he worked as a taxi driver and a courier, and then he himself took up scripts and a camera, trying to convey his truth to a wide audience. And he succeeded.
He showed his understanding of how to make America better in other fields, for example, together with Professor Peter Kuznik, he wrote “The Untold History of the United States.” The name speaks for itself.
America’s official and pathetic history is not about Stone.
In his work, there are many things that hit the American pride. There have been many attempts to understand and talk with those whom Washington considers enemies: from Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez to Russian President Vladimir Putin. Stone sincerely believed and believes that a true patriot should not be afraid to reveal the painful truth, that this is the only way to learn from the mistakes of the past and make your country better.
Of course, with such an uncompromising approach, Stone has amassed many critics who, in recent years, have labeled him a conspiracy theorist and even a “Kremlin puppet.”
The author of these lines was lucky in seven years to communicate with Oliver Stone four times on a variety of topics. I can say with confidence that Stone is an American who loves his country to the core. All his words, all his work are primarily focused on America, on the belief that this will help her become better, and not denigrate her.
If it seems to someone that Stone is sitting and waiting for a call from Russia and asked to swear at his country, this is a deep delusion. Finding half an hour for an interview in his schedule has to be negotiated for weeks, and it doesn’t always work out. The director, even at 75, gives interviews to the leading American TV channels, he is full of energy, ideas, travels around the world to bring them to life. And Stone is a figure in America today, albeit a controversial one.
No matter how painful his words may sometimes seem for his country, he is often far from alone in his opinion. If you look at America from the inside, it is noticeable that conciliation there is generally considered bad form, and competition, criticism and dispute are always welcome. But all this is usually for domestic cuisine, and for the rest of the world, the United States maintains the image of “city on a hill”.
Stone annoys the American elite by the fact that he is not afraid and does not hesitate to tell the whole world what is customary to discuss in a narrow circle, as we say, in the kitchen. Whether it is right or not – let everyone decide for himself, but the rebel Stone is not one of those who are afraid to break the rules, so he continues to bend his line.
Oliver Stone was born in 1946 in New York. His father is a Jew, his mother is a Frenchwoman from a Catholic family, and the future filmmaker was assigned to an evangelical school.
In 1967 he was drafted into the army and went to Vietnam, where he fought for over a year. He was wounded twice. He returned with several military awards. Winner of many film awards, including three Oscars. First received for Best Screenplay for Alan Parker’s “Midnight Express”. Two others were awarded to him already as the director of two films from the “Vietnamese trilogy” – “Platoon” and “Born on the Fourth of July”. In total, he has shot more than 30 films.
He was married three times and has three children.