KARLOVY VARY – It doesn’t give Edward Snowden options, but director Oliver Stone wants to grant the National Security Agency leaker asylum.
"If I were a country, I would give him asylum. I wish I could be a country," Stone told The Hollywood Reporter from the Karlovy Vary Film Festival where he is to receive a lifetime achievement award.
The filmmaker added that he can do no more to protect Snowden from prosecution by the United States than joining fellow Hollywood stars like John Cusack, Roseanne Barr and Danny Glover to sign a petition that urges President Rafael Correa to grant Snowden’s asylum request.
Having fled the U.S., Snowden remains holed up in the transit zone at Moscow's Sheremetyevo International Airport as a raft of international asylum requests so far go unanswered.
Stone said he was especially disappointed by leaders in Europe, and in Brazil and India, after they rejected Snowden’s asylum bids outright.
"I'm disappointed by Europe’s reaction, considering they are among the targets for the eavesdropping,” he said.
The director recalled the 1950s and 1960s, when an earlier generation of leaders like Indian prime minister Jawahartal Nehru, Ghanian president Kwame Nkrumah and French president Charles De Gaulle were more “neutral” about U.S foreign policy., and did not hesitate to voice criticism.
"That kind of independence has been lost in Europe,” Stone complained.
He was especially critical of German chancellor Angela Merkel who, while reacting angrily to claims of U.S. spying in Europe, has followed U.S. foreign policy as her country increasingly controls a beleaguered European Union framework.
"I do feel it has not been good for Europe," Stone said of the EU.
“It has led to the creation of a German financial empire. Now it’s just one big government out of Germany,” he added.
Stone, no stranger to political critique, is also in Karlovy Vary to introduce screenings of two episodes of The Untold History of the United States.
The 10-hour documentary series on Showtime was co-written by Peter Kuznick.
Stone said The Untold History captures an unrevealed history of the U.S. during the 20th century.
"It's all about 70 years that we have forgotten. When you see it in one piece – 10 hours – you get it," he argued.
The Bohemian spa town festival will also screen a new director’s cut of Stone’s Alexander, which expands on the original 2004 version from Warner Bros. that was two hours and 45 minutes.
"It's thre hours, 20 minutes now. I'm very happy with this version. It has a different flow,” Stone said.
The Karlovy Vary Film Festival continues through July 6.