August 7, 2006, - 11:46 am
By Debbie Schlussel
Last year, when it was announced that Director Oliver Stone was making a 9/11 movie, I was among the first to cringe in writing.
Now, Stone’s 9/11 film, “World Trade Center,” out Wednesday, is getting rave reviews from a lot of conservatives. ****UPDATE, 08/08/06: My review of this horrid movie posted here.**** They like it because–contrary to expectations–Stone reportedly stuck to the 9/11 story and didn’t do one of his conspiracy theory dog and pony fiction shows, a la “JFK.”
And, I’m being criticized by left-wing sites for daring to worry–last year–that Stone would make one of his loony non-“documentary” versions of “Fahrenheit 9/11.”
But I think those who praise Stone for this pic should hold off praising him. Stone has now let on that he may do a 9/11 conspiracy film, too. And he will use goodwill from this project to lend legitimacy to that one. That should disturb everyone. Ditto for the fact that, while his movie doesn’t make political statements, he is using it to attack Bush in press interviews.
Stone told Detroit Free Press Film Critic Terry Lawson,
“There’s a lot of movies to be made about 9/11, and this is just the one I wanted to make at this time. Maybe later, I’ll make another one, from a different perspective. . . .
There are lots of movies that could be made about the politics of 9/11. Someday, someone will make the 9/11 ‘Battle of Algiers,’ you can bet.” (The classic “The Battle of Algiers” was told primarily from the perspective of the Algerians in their revolt against the colonial French.)
In other words, someday someone will make a 9/11 movie from Mohammed Atta’s and Osama Bin Laden’s perspective. And don’t be surprised, since he’s already hinting at it, if that “someone” is Oliver Stone, himself. Call it, “Love Letter to Fidel: Nixon’s Platoon of Natural Born JFK 9/11 Killers Born on the 4th of July.”
And, don’t forget, Stone remains a huge fan of HAMAS and the late Yasser Arafat, the Islamic soul-mates of 9/11’s hijackers. He visited HAMAS Ramallah Chief Hassan Yussef. According to Al-Ahram, in March 2002, just after the Passover Massacre, Stone visited Arafat at his Ramallah compound with Portugal’s Nobel Prize-winning novelist Jose Saramago and French anarchist Jose Bove.
During the meeting Saramago called the situation in Ramallah “a crime comparable to Auschwitz.” When asked where were the gas chambers, he answered, “not yet.” According to the Simon Wiesenthal Center, Variety columnist Army Archerd later asked Stone about incitement in the Palestinian schools and the glorification of suicide bombings, Stone ignored the question and instead said of Arab-Israeli tension that, “The memories are long as are the grudges and feuds.” Whatever.
Stone also told the Free Press’ Lawson that he urged actress Maggie Gyllenhaal to stay in the movie–playing the wife of one of 9/11’s heroic cops–despite the fact that she said the US bore responsibility for 9/11. Will Jimeno–the surviving real-life cop whose wife she plays–and his wife might have been too starstruck to object to Gyllenhaal, but her comments are a slap in their face. And the faces of those many cops and firefighters who died on 9/11. Period.
That Stone chose to keep her on is a double slap. Just wait for the triple slap in the form of an Academy Award nomination (can’t wait for her Michael Moore-esque acceptance speech).
In Friday’s USA Today, Stone told reporter Anthony Breznican:
“In these articles, you know where they’re going the moment they use ‘conspiracy theorist.’ It’s some kind of derogatory term,” he says. “Some conspiracy theorists are completely insane. But it’s not wrong to question the official story. Never. That’s been the story of my life and in all my films.” . . .
“Bush makes Nixon look like St. Augustine,” he says of the saint known for his zeal in confessing wrongs. “At least Nixon had some intelligence and a conscience …. Bush is The Manchurian Candidate,” a reference to the 1962 movie about a presidential contender manipulated by immoral handlers.
Even 9/11 conspiracy theorist organizer David Slesinger won’t dare criticize Stone (while he criticizes everyone else who doesn’t buy into his bizarre theories):
But Slesinger says he isn’t upset that Stone doesn’t ask those questions. “It’s not for a propagandist like myself to question an artist like Oliver Stone.”
In USA Today, Stone continues the hints he made to the Detroit Free Press about a conspiracy theory film in the works:
Would he have preferred to make a film that explores the political implications of 9/11 instead of a strict rescue docudrama?
“If I could go back, would I change it? Good question.”
So while “World Trade Center” may play the facts of 9/11 straight, don’t mistake one movie for Oliver Stone’s final word on 9/11 and Islamic terrorism.
That may be yet to come. And, given his track record, it may not be so nice . . . or factual.
Tags: 4th of July, Academy Award, actress, Al-Ahram, Algiers, Anthony Breznican, artist, Bud Oliver Stone, Bush, David Slesinger, Debbie Schlussel Last, Detroit Free Press, director, Fahrenheit 9/11, film critic, gas chambers, Hamas, Hassan Yussef, I, JFK, Jose Bove, Jose Saramago, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Mohammed Atta, Nixon, Nobel Prize-winning novelist, novelist, Oliver Stone, Osama bin Laden, Portugal, Ramallah, Ramallah Chief, reporter, Simon Wiesenthal Center, Terry Lawson, The Battle of Algiers, the Detroit Free Press, the Free Press, The Manchurian Candidate, United States, USA Today, Variety columnist, World Trade Center, Yasser Arafat