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Castro Shelved
April 17, 2003 10:13 AM   Subscribe

HBO has decided to "shelf" Oliver Stone's documentary on Fidel Castro on the basis that the documentary depicts Castro without judgement. Should documentary filmmaking be a "true journalistic endeavor" as the article suggests?
posted by ericrolph (26 comments total)

 
From what I have read it also depicts Castro according to Castro approved by Castro; there are (apparently) no interviews with anyone independent of the Castro administration. Sort of throws into question the whole idea of this film being a 'true journalistic endeavor'-- but, phew, if you really expect that of Oliver Stone, you haven't been paying attention.
posted by xmutex at 10:30 AM on April 17, 2003


I'm shocked. It's an Oliver Stone movie - so what if it's an extended interview with Fidel? It would be considered interesting anywhere in the world. So it's one-sided? So what? Whatever happened to alternative viewpoints?

If you eliminated all one-sided documentaries and movies, there would be precious few left.

HBO should just stick a standard preamble on it - "The views aired in this bla bla do no represent bla bla" - and stop being so stupid and censorious. They commissioned Oliver Stone - they got it. What were they expecting?

Bah!
posted by MiguelCardoso at 10:39 AM on April 17, 2003


Oliver Stone making a "documentary" without political bias would be like Micheal Moore making a "documentary" without politcal bias.

or, what xmutex said.
posted by eyeballkid at 10:42 AM on April 17, 2003


"Sometimes startling. Sometimes heartbreaking. Always real. HBO and Cinemax documentary programming presents a full spectrum of reality programming by leading documentary filmmakers. Taking viewers from the hidden corners to the incredible lives to the shocking reality that is America, these powerful, uncompromising and award-winning shows are among the most highly-rated and acclaimed programs on both HBO and Cinemax. "

I guess that only applies to documentaries filmed in America.
posted by cachilders at 10:49 AM on April 17, 2003


"They have a moral responsibility, a duty to tell the truth," Garcia told the Daily News. "It's made to look like a journalistic documentary and it's not. It's raw footage of a dictator."

Umm...huh?
posted by sklero at 10:49 AM on April 17, 2003


And another thing, this is really thin-skinned of HBO. Castro's been detaining and executing people since $A_LONG_TIME and now that something's fresh in the public mind, they're yanking the documentary.

I'd like to offer a big whatever to the folks at HBO.

[/obvious media complaint]
posted by xmutex at 10:51 AM on April 17, 2003


I'd like to see it because it sounds interesting. Does everything have to be a Barbara Walters exposé?
posted by letitrain at 11:02 AM on April 17, 2003


"It's raw footage of a dictator."

They didn't have any problem airing Journeys With George.
posted by iamck at 11:28 AM on April 17, 2003


yeah, but maybe the Cuban apparatchiks would censor Journeys with George as well, who knows

anyway, in the current US politcal climate, I think HBO's being careful. Better safe than sorry, you know. Guantanamo is Cuba, too
posted by matteo at 11:37 AM on April 17, 2003


"This piece on Fidel, it's basically an homage to a hedonistic murderer," Garcia said. "Imagine a documentary on Al Capone and not mentioning he's a thug."

I think that would kick ass.

These Cuban exiles make some good points, but you have to bear in mind that they're one of the most extreme lobbyist groups in America. After all, these are the people who killed Kennedy after he betrayed them during the Bay of Pigs incident.
posted by son_of_minya at 12:09 PM on April 17, 2003


Fidel Castro should die of gonorrhea and rot in hell. Laces out!!!
posted by Ljubljana at 12:25 PM on April 17, 2003


After all, these are the people who killed Kennedy

Nah. I think it was a Mob hit
posted by matteo at 12:37 PM on April 17, 2003


I keep telling you people: it was Ladybird Johnson!
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 12:41 PM on April 17, 2003


I think it was the grassy knoll.
posted by Outlawyr at 12:52 PM on April 17, 2003


It was global warming. Somehow.
posted by gsteff at 12:58 PM on April 17, 2003


Does everything have to be a Barbara Walters exposé?

I'd love to see Barbara interview Fidel: "Is is twue that you've awested and executed thousands of dissidents? That you've put hundweds of AIDS suffewews in concentwation camps? How does this make you feel?"
posted by Ty Webb at 1:09 PM on April 17, 2003


Oswald was really trying to kill John Connolly, who, while Secretary of the Navy, rebuffed Oswald's attempt to get his dishonorable discharge changed to honorable. Just a revenge killing - Kennedy had the bad luck to be in the way.
posted by crunchburger at 2:06 PM on April 17, 2003


Wow, someone else who agrees with me that Connolly was the target!

Clearly there's a sense that everything in the documentary is Fidel-approved, but then isn't the shocking part of this story the fact that HBO is shelving a documentary on the basis of its political leaning?

And if that is in fact the case, what exactly makes American media any better than Cuban media, when you think about it?
posted by clevershark at 2:10 PM on April 17, 2003


what exactly makes American media any better than Cuban media

better web design, usually
posted by matteo at 2:14 PM on April 17, 2003


Elvis shot JFK.
posted by elwoodwiles at 2:38 PM on April 17, 2003


According to Red Dwarf, Kennedy shot himself. http://www.clubi.ie/lestat/tikka.html
posted by nyxxxx at 3:26 PM on April 17, 2003


They could have just renamed it six feet under and no-one would have noticed.
posted by Mack Twain at 4:02 PM on April 17, 2003


HBO has decided to "shelf" Oliver Stone's documentary on Fidel Castro on the basis that the documentary depicts Castro without judgement.

This is a heavily prejudicial interpretation of the article, ericrolph. Perhaps you confused the color quotes from the anti-Castro CANF as official statements from HBO? Otherwise, there isn't a shred of evidence that the shelving was politically motivated other than the real sense that if repression in Cuba is ramping up dramatically the documentary is, as they stated, outdated and incomplete.
posted by dhartung at 4:12 PM on April 17, 2003


According to Red Dwarf, Kennedy shot himself.

According to the timecube...
posted by iamck at 6:30 PM on April 17, 2003


Castro's attempt to use the war as a cover for clampdowns on political dissent is fucking atrocious, and I'd urge people (especially Spanish-speakers) to make noise about it.

That said, there's no reason why HBO couldn't end the screening with a 'since the making of this programme...' and pictures of all the arrested dissidents and their sentences. And that URL.

The biggest problem, I'd suggest, in the attitude of Americans towards Cuba is that the embargo and the travel ban essentially contribute towards a culture of ignorance towards what life in Cuba -- still subject to political repression, and badly divided between the 'official' and the dollar economies, but nonetheless an extraordinary place -- is actually like. Instead, you get the propagandists in Miami establishing the party line.

Anything, then, which attempts to show Cuba (rather than Castro) to Americans -- the last mainstream media depiction, I'd venture, was The Godfather Part II -- ought to be welcomed. Any volunteers?
posted by riviera at 6:44 AM on April 18, 2003


Martin Cruz Smith's novel Havana Bay set the detective Arkady Renko in Havana, and that was sold in the American mass-market trade (airport bookstores etc). Of course, I don't know if anyone has bought the movie rights...
posted by crunchburger at 7:48 PM on May 15, 2003


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