Who was actually behind the November 22, 1963 assassination of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy will likely never be known. But Oliver Stone (New York, 74 years old) has been struggling for more than half his life to dismantle the incongruous official version – indeed, both of that episode and of others related to the dark corners of the United States. 30 years have passed since the premiere of his JFK: case open, who opened the eyes of many of his compatriots, and in one way or another he has never forgotten the assassination on screen, as he demonstrated in, for example, the documentary series The Untold Story of the United States. Now, finally, he has the evidence, thanks to the fact that then-President Donald Trump declassified 2,800 secret reports with more than three million documents in 2017 (although another 200 are still not accessible, those considered the dark core of the investigations). And with them he premieres in Cannes JFK Revisited: Through The Looking Glass, two spectacular hours that end up pointing out the CIA and the FBI if not as culprits, but as manipulators of all the evidence.
In fact, this new impetus about the Kennedy case did not come from Stone, but from his regular producer, Rob Wilson, and the script comes from James DiEugenio’s book on the assassination. At the festival, the two-hour version is screened in the Cannes Première section (which will be the one that premieres in Spain, where it already has distribution; in the US, meanwhile, it still has no buyer), but there is one of four that was the one seen by Thierry Frémaux, the general delegate of the contest. And what appears on the screen is devastating. “I have done it because it is important, because in 1963 that murder marked a generation. Kennedy was the last American president who truly fought for world peace, ”says Stone. “Kennedy advanced on possible relations with Cuba, negotiated the nuclear non-proliferation treaty with the USSR, began to think about getting the US out of the Vietnam War. He was anti-colonial. Robert McNamara himself, his Secretary of Defense, confirmed this in his memoirs. I insist, Kennedy was the last president who really tried to change things, and that turned against him ”.
Who Killed Kennedy? Lee Harvey Oswald probably not, according to reports from three government investigations spanning decades. A retired general recalls on camera: “Kennedy had too many enemies.” Stone explains: “Actually, I don’t know what happened, but I do know what didn’t happen. And in the documentary I also portray the atmosphere of that time. I doubt the Biden Administration will do anything else today [por aclarar el crimen], I suspect it does not cross his mind. ” And its producer underlines: “In October 2017, Donald Trump extended the official secrecy of those 200 documents. And then he announced two more years … We are still the same. Technically today the Government is breaking the law ”.
“In the autopsy, dozens of manipulations were carried out, a brain that was not the president’s was used, photos disappeared
On the screen, proof by proof is analyzed, also the official documents and the testimony of the historians who have already dived in those three million documents. “There you have the trajectories of the bullets, the famous magic bullet [que primero atravesó a Kennedy y luego dio vueltas por el cuerpo del gobernador de Texas, John Connally], the rifle, the photos, Oswald’s relations with the CIA ”, insists Stone.
Focusing on the Warren Commission investigation, named after the assassination, which twisted, ignored and manipulated the evidence, Stone reviews the material contributed by the 1975 investigation, conducted by the House Select Committee on Assassinations, as well as the work of since 1992 reassessed the documents, to categorize them after the 1991 release of the film, which focused on prosecutor Jim Garrison. As a hilarious example of the first commission, one of its members, Gerald Ford, who became president, even tweaked the autopsy sketch to move the entrance with a shot; weeks later, the hole return to its original site.
Several of the historians and experts who accessed the reports in the 1990s appear on screen highlighting the incredible contradictions in the schedules of, for example, the chain of custody of the bullets and casings found in Dallas. One of the projectiles appeared on a stretcher where the president’s body had rested hours before (no one knows why it was not discovered earlier). And the magic bullet, the one that ended up in Connally’s thigh, is still intact, despite all the travel it took through two bodies. “In the autopsy, dozens of manipulations were carried out, a brain that was not the president’s was used, photos disappeared,” says Stone, who only appears on the screen to give certain gravitas into action in Dallas. In some comment he falls into a certain conspiracy theory that does not help the film.
In this meticulous analysis of the documents, Stone opens another door: that of Oswald’s life. And, also with official papers, it shows that there were two other similar assassination plans in Chicago and Tampa (Florida) that included another couple of guys who would take the blame. Expert after expert, they all point to the CIA, because at that time it was conducting its own foreign policy, and the president wanted to end his reign. Two examples: the agency considered that Kennedy supported a coup against President De Gaulle, assuring him that all the French military were against him for his intention to end the war in Algeria; and the CIA deceived him when, disobeying its orders, the US secret services handed over Patrice Lumumba – the prime minister of the Congo who was overthrown in a military coup by Mobutu, and whom JFK had promised protection – to his enemies for assassination. Everything is documented and recorded.
In the end, a strange flavor remains among the public that the filmmaker explains: “It is more important that we know why Kennedy was assassinated than who. And it was because of his longing for peace. Today, why do we want enemies? Why do we maintain a hostile policy against Russia, China, Iran or Cuba? We need stable relations with those countries because the main threat we now face is global warming. And it is a global problem that needs global solutions. The countries, the people, are above presidents or dictators ”.