Chasing the Light: Writing, Directing, and Surviving

Thursday 03 September 2020
18:30 Isola Edipo 

On September 3rd at 6pm (Isola Edipo), Silvia Bizio will be talking with three-time-Oscar-winning American filmmaker Oliver Stone about his new memoir Chasing the Light: Writing, Directing, and Surviving Platoon, Midnight Express, Scarface, Salvador, and the Movie Game.
In Chasing The Light, Oscar-winning director and screenwriter, Oliver Stone writes about his rarefied New York childhood, volunteering for combat, and his struggles and triumphs making such films as PlatoonMidnight Express, and Scarface. Before the international success of Platoon in 1986, Oliver Stone had been wounded as an infantryman in Vietnam, and spent years writing unproduced scripts while taking miscellaneous jobs and driving taxis in New York, finally venturing westward to Los Angeles and a new life. Stone, now 73, recounts those formative years with vivid details of the high and low moments: we sit at the table in meetings with Al Pacino over Stone's scripts for ScarfacePlatoon, and Born on the Fourth of July; relive the harrowing demon of cocaine addiction following the failure of his first feature, The Hand (starring Michael Caine); experience his risky on-the-ground research of Miami drug cartels for Scarface; and see his stormy relationship with The Deer Hunter director Michael Cimino. We also learn of the breathless hustles to finance the acclaimed and divisive Salvador; and witness tensions behind the scenes of his first Academy Award-winning film, Midnight Express. The culmination of the book is the extraordinarily vivid recreation of filming Platoon in the depths of the Philippine jungle with Kevin Dillon, Charlie Sheen, Willem Dafoe, Johnny Depp et al, pushing himself, the crew and the young cast almost beyond breaking point.

Academy Award winning Oliver Stone has written and directed over 20 full-length feature films, among them some of the most influential and iconic films of the last decades. Some have been at deep odds with conventional myth-films such as Platoon (1986), the first of three Vietnam films; Born on the Fourth of July (1989); JFK (1991); Natural Born Killers (1994); and Nixon (1995). Stone's films have often reached wide, international audiences and have had significant cultural impact. These include Salvador (1985), deeply critical of the U.S. Government's involvement in Central America; Wall Street (1987), an exposé of America's new capitalism; World Trade Center (2006), a true story of 2 (of only 20) 9/11 survivors; The Doors (1991), a poetic look at the 1960s and Jim Morrison's ecstatic music; and Snowden (2016), the international story of a recent American whistleblower. His written screenplays, though not directed, gave him an early taste of the difficulty of his ideas. An uproar greeted Midnight Express (1979) and only grew with Scarface (1983). He has produced or co-produced a dozen films, including The People vs. Larry Flynt (1996), Joy Luck Club (1993), and Reversal of Fortune (1990). Stone was born September 15, 1946 in New York City. He served in the U.S. Army Infantry in Vietnam in 1967-68 and was decorated with the Bronze Star for Valor. After returning from Vietnam, he completed his undergraduate studies at New York University Film School in 1971. He worked as a taxi driver, merchant mariner, advertising salesman, and production assistant. 

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