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Oliver Stone Speaks at Law School

By Jeff Beals

Oscar-winning director Oliver Stone offered a bleak and often apocalyptic picture of media and violence in the 20th century in an address at the Law School last night.

"As there is now a C-Span and a Court TV Channel, I believe there will be an execution channel featuring gassings," Stone said.

Addressing a crowd of about 150 students in Austin Hall, the filmmaker analyzed the messages of his films.

His current hit "Natural Born Killers" chronicles the murderous escapades of two serial killers--Stone's modern-day Bonnie and Cyde.

"When we set out to make 'Natural Born Killers' in 1992, it was a surreal subject matter," said Stone. "But by the time it was finished in 1994 it had grown to become real."

Stone peppered his lecture with quotes from both Nobel laureate Octavio Paz and Pearl Jam lead singer Eddie Vedder to support his premise that society is in the grips of a controlling media.

"I think our fascination with violence is an acknowledgement of our own impending death," he said.

Stone said his experiences in Vietnam did not directly influence his violent interpretation of society today.

"A lot of people say I might have lost my mind over there," Stone said with a grin. "But I think the act of birth is violent, a lot of blood, screaming, light hits your eyes, and they grab you with forceps, in my case."

The evening saw one its few light-hearted moments when Stone offered career advice to a female law student interested in being cast in one of the director's films.

"Come up to my hotel room," Stone told the would-be actress.

Stone refused to discuss his next film, disappointing the crowd.

"If I told you, it would become a press thing, be speculated on, and become a difficult nightmare," he said.

Calling Stone an "agent provacateur for truth," Frankfurter Professor of Law Alan M. Dershowitz, the subject of Stone's film "Reversal of Fortune," introduced the filmmaker.

"I think in another life Oliver Stone would have made a great Socratic law teacher," said Dershowitz, referring to the lingering questions posed in Stone's films.

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