South of the Border Director: Oliver Stone 'Men are sometimes so slow,' bellows Cristina Kirchner in a scene midway through South of the Border, Oliver Stone's documentary on the rise of progressive politics in South America. The Argentinian president was actually bemoaning how an aide took a lifetime to bring her a photograph of her with Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez, but she could easily have been commenting on Stone himself, who had asked Kirchner - a lawyer-turned-politician who has been fighting and winning elections since the late 1980s - how many pairs of shoes she has. 'You'd never ask a man how many pairs of pants he's got,' she says, nonplussed. If only Stone is deliberately playing the fool for laughs. But he isn't: the American filmmaker clearly envisions South of the Border as a bona fide film about the emergence of left-wing governments in the continent long seen as the United States' backyard. But when Stone hits the ground, he asks Chavez inane questions, and then actually 'directs' the Venezuelan president by asking him to 'think about your grandmother' and cry during a visit to his childhood home. And then he busies himself chewing coca leaves while Bolivia's president, Evo Morales, talks about his vision for his country. And he describes Cuban leader Raul Castro as Latin American left-wing politicians' 'godfather', seemingly unaware of the connotations of the term. Those are not the only gaffes which undermine South of the Border. Rather than being the Progressive Latin American Politics for Dummies which Stone wants the film to be, it turns out to be a film by a dummy. Stone flies his way across the continent asking banal questions of heads of state - he doesn't speak Spanish, which makes his nodding to answers an awkward sight. And just as glaring as these non-starter meetings are the absence of Chile's Michelle Bachelet, the centre-left former president who was once tortured and detained by the Pinochet regime, and Uruguay's Jose Mujica, a former guerilla who was elected into office last year. Incoherent in bringing his interviewees' philosophy into play, Stone has proved to be as ham-fisted in making documentaries as he is with his feature films these days (Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps being the proof). While his premise is fine, the execution is deadly off-the-mark. Extras: trailer.