Good morning. My name is Joan Mellen, and I’ve come to this conference commemorating Oliver Stone and his film “JFK” wearing three hats:
- As a student and teacher of film studies
- As a writer about the Kennedy assassination
- And as the biographer of Jim Garrison
Many in this room could recite a litany of films that have played a role in illuminating history while advocating social change: “The Grand Illusion,” “All Quiet On the Western Front,” “Gentleman’s Agreement,” Oliver Stone’s own “Platoon” and “Born On The Fourth of July.” But “JFK” is different: “JFK” became an ACT of history.
From revealing the truth about the Kennedy assassination, and “JFK” does that, accurately, despite CIA’s efforts to say otherwise, Oliver Stone’s film went on to become a historical event in its own right. Stone’s film restored interest in the Kennedy assassination to new generations, people born too late to be susceptible to the obfuscations of the Warren Report and the confused Report of the House Select Committee On Assassinations with its emphasis on the Mafia. That we know.
What “JFK” did that is even more remarkable was to make possible the revelation of truths behind American power that had previously been concealed from the public. Oliver Stone’s “JFK” revolutionized the writing of American history of the second half of the twentieth century.