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JMC’s Hanson to moderate May 4 discussion with Oscar-winning director

Posted May. 3, 2013

Professor Gary Hanson will moderate a discussion with Oscar-winning director Oliver Stone as part of the 43rd annual May 4, 1970 commemoration. Stone will speak about “History and Memory in Film,” based on his films that depict ‘60s-era events, from 7:30 to 9:00 p.m. on May 4 in the University Auditorium of Cartwright Hall.

Hanson, a 25-year veteran of TV news and a self-described film buff, will ask Stone about the role of movies in establishing history. “What I really want to ask about is who tells history,” Hanson said. “I am fascinated by how history is told, by the role of mythology and whether filmmakers have an obligation to get it right. Is there room for history to be told subjectively, through movies? Do movies have to be historically accurate to tell the larger truth of history?”

“Stone has done three films on Vietnam that for many people represent the story of Vietnam. More people have seen Platoon than have read a history of Vietnam,” Hanson said. “Stone’s films always tell several stories. Born on the 4th of July is essentially the story of the radicalization of [Vietnam veteran] Ron Kovic, but it’s really about the loss of innocence. JFK is about [former New Orleans district attorney] Jim Garrison’s investigation of the Kennedy assassination, but it’s really about mistrust of government.”

Hanson is a fan of Stone’s films. “He can put two pieces of film together in a way like no one else.”

The discussion with Stone is part of a weekend of commemorative events, including the dedication of the May 4 Visitor Center. Events are free and open to the public. Seats will be available on a first-come basis.