On the eve of his visit to Austin to participate in this year’s Austin Film Festival and Screenwriters Conference, the Austin-American Statesman‘s Chris Garcia chats with filmmaker Oliver Stone about his Oscar-winning biopic, Born of the Fourth of July (which will screen this weekend):
Garcia: Do you see this movie as more timely than ‘Platoon’? Is there a reason you chose it [to screen this weekend] over ‘Platoon’?
Stone: “Platoon” is extremely timely, too, but “Born on the Fourth of July” is a probably more neglected film. I like the film. I get a kick out of seeing it with an audience.
Garcia: ‘Born on the Fourth’ takes a hard look at the difficulties veterans experience when they come home from war. How is that return different today than it was during the Vietnam War?
Stone: What’s different really? Veterans back then felt they were coming back to a society that was mostly indifferent to the war, because the economy was booming and they were going about their own business. Vietnam was a divisive issue. Today veterans come back to an America where people hardly even think about Iraq. It’s also politically divisive and people are going about their lives, driving their SUVs, using up oil, getting rich.
Garcia: How do you feel about the Iraq war, in complete and unexpurgated language?
Stone: I think it’s an obscenity. That’s the best I can do. Ill-conceived, ill-fought and it will be an ill result that has repercussions for generations.
Garcia: Does it break your heart?
Stone: Of course. I made three films about Vietnam, as well as “Salvador,” and to go through this again in my lifetime has been heartbreaking. I think I speak for many veterans.