Review: South of the Border DVD

South of the Border DVD boxSTUDIO: Cinema Libre | DIRECTOR: Oliver Stone
RELEASE DATE: 10/26/10 | PRICE: DVD $24.95, Blu-ray $29.95
BONUSES: deleted scenes, additional questions for Hugo Chavez, behind-the-scenes footage of the South American promotional tour, more
SPECS: NR | 78 min. | Documentary | 1:33 fullscreen | stereo | English with Spanish, Portuguese and English subtitles

RATINGS (out of 5): Movie  | Audio  | Video  | Overall

In the engaging documentary South of the Border, famed filmmaker Oliver Stone (Wall Street) travels to South America to interview seven presidents: Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez, Bolivia’s Evo Morales, Brazil’s Lula da Silva, Argentina’s Cristina Kirchner, Paraguay’s Fernando Lugo, Ecuador’s Rafael Correa and Cuba’s Raul Castro.

The independent film is an attempt to present a more balanced picture of these leaders, and in this, Stone is largely successful, interviewing each leader about how they see their country’s future and filming them during more personal moments, from Kirchner enjoying a glass of wine and looking at old photos to Chavez riding a bike at his childhood home.

In fact, the movie offers a perspective rarely, if ever, presented stateside — particularly of Chavez, who is often called anti-American and a dictator by Western media. Actor Sean Penn (Carlito’s Way) recently raised some controversy by declaring that journalists who call Chavez a dictator should be jailed. And President Obama was criticized last year for shaking Chavez’s hand at a news conference. Without a doubt, Chavez is a polarizing figure, but Stone’s unprecedented access for this documentary provides a better idea of who this charismatic leader really is and a chance to begin to understand what he wants for his country. “We have to start somewhere,” Stone says at one point in the film.

The South of the Border DVD has more than 90 minutes of special features, which include an expanded interview with Chavez, behind-the-scenes footage of Stone’s South American promotional tour for the film, deleted scenes and a featurette on how Chavez’s reforms have impacted Venezuela.

 

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About Cheryl

Cheryl Cheng reviewed DVD and Blu-ray titles for Video Business magazine and has a special place in her heart for foreign and independent films.