It was a red carpet event with a difference at the Venice Film Festival; instead of the usual movie makers and their stars, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez stole the limelight at the premier of “South of the Border.”
Director Oliver Stone interviewed several South American leaders to make the film, which focuses on the social and political changes sweeping across the region. Stone has a reputation for outspoken criticism of US policy and has sympathetically portrayed Chavez, who is normally vilified in the American media. The director defended his reasons for making the film: “Social improvement has been extreme in Venezuela and there are many problems still, but it’s a wonderful change that’s occurred since 2000,” he said. Critics seemed to like it and Stone hopes the film will redress the balance of US coverage against Chavez. “South of the Border” is showing out of competition at the festival.