Tuesday, February 16, 2010

PBS - The American Experience - Oswald's Ghost

Complex and troubling, the documentary Oswald's Ghost examines what happened after the Kennedy assassination--it is less about possible conspiracies than about how the belief in conspiracies has affected our culture and those who pursued them. The abundance of archival footage of Lee Harvey Oswald after his arrest--sometimes in press conferences, sometimes simply being transported in handcuffs by officers--is startling and fascinating. The interviewees include one-time presidential candidate Gary Hart, former news anchor Dan Rather, author Norman Mailer (who, over the course of researching his book Oswald's Tale, changed his mind about whether Oswald acted alone), and the numerous authors of books on the subject. Oswald's Ghost presents arguments from all sides and may upset anyone with a rigid mind about the issue, but its fluid and hypnotic narrative will engage even viewers with only a casual interest in the topic. The extra features, which are just as compelling as the movie itself, include a much more extensive discourse on the Zapruder film and a thoughtful interview with the director, Robert Stone (Guerilla: The Taking of Patty Hearst), who explains how he wanted to make film that would interest people on either side of the conspiracy question. He succeeded.

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