The assassination of President John F. Kennedy in November 1963 was to its era what the attacks of September 11 are to ours. What followed was a decade of political paranoia, unprecedented division of the American public, and accusations of governmental skulduggery. In the White House, a conspiratorially minded president threw the nation headlong into a divisive and unnecessary war in response, partly, to his own growing paranoia over the assassination of his predecessor.
For much of the public, Vietnam and the Kennedy assassination became merged psychologically into a vast wellspring of mistrust and disillusionment. With the subsequent assassinations of Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy in 1968 and the revelations of President Nixon’s constitutional subversion in the early 1970s, the last hopes of American idealism were shattered. A decade after JFK’s death, America’s political culture was changed almost beyond recognition.
With Oswald’s Ghost, director Robert Stone offers an unprecedented deconstruction of the mythologies and controversy surrounding what is perhaps the most tangled and far-reaching murder mystery of all time. Featuring interviews with authors Norman Mailer and Edward J. Epstein, politician Gary Hart, activist Tom Hayden, attorney Mark Lane, and others, the 90-minute film probes the deep psychic wounds inflicted by the Kennedy assassination on American politics and culture, the scars of which remain evident to this day.
Using a wealth of archival material, much of it never before publicly seen or heard, Stone chronicles America’s forty-year obsession with the pivotal event of a generation. Quietly implicit throughout the film is a haunting parallel to 9/11 and its aftermath.
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Robert Stone speaks with Liane Hansen about his upcoming film Oswald’s Ghost. The movie explores the American fascination with Kennedy’s death and looks more closely at Oswald’s character.