'America' Premiere: D'Souza Confronts Zinn's Radical History
LOS ANGELES -- Hundreds of curious and enthusiastic guests turned out for the red-carpet screening premier of Dinesh D'Souza's new film, America, which is slated to hit theaters on July 2.
The crowd roared waited anxiously in a line that wrapped around the corner of the Regal Cinemas at LA Live in downtown Los Angeles. They were greeted by the actors dressed as George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, foreshadowing the history lesson which D'Souza was about to provide on screen, in answer to the frightening question: "What would the world be without America?"
"The film is a celebration of the ideas that built America and it's a warning against some forces--in America--that are bringing America down," D'souza told Breitbart News. "I'm trying as an immigrant to tell a story that Americans don't know." he said.
The Indian-born filmmaker, author, and scholar came to America from India when he was just 17 years old. "I love America. I chose this country. And like millions of immigrants, I am blessed by my life in America."
America pans to several historic landmarks such as Mt. Rushmore, the Lincoln Memorial and the Statue of Liberty, all of which crumble into sand. D'Souza uses the visual metaphor to emphasize what would have been if America's history, as told by the late left-wing activist Howard Zinn, were true. Zinn's revisionist text, A People's History of the United States has been used throughout many schools as part of their curriculum and deemed an historically-accurate work of writing, which D'Souza disputes throughout his film.
The film takes the audience through the most critical, pivotal moments in American history -- historical accounts of stories that are often untold, but which have shaped the foundation of the nation that is still the world's greatest superpower. Many of these stories are about minorities who rose up, persevered and succeeded in the face of challenges and sullen doubt.
One little-known story D'Souza recounts, for example, is that of an African-American woman named Madam C. J. Walker (Sarah Breedlove) who was born into freedom to parents who had been slaves, created a success out of beauty and hair products for black women. She is regarded as the first self-made female millionaire in the United States.
At one point in the film, D'Souza says "America isn't the problem. America is the answer." He then references the world-renowned Bono of the group U2: "Bono knows the answer," he says as the film cuts to a video clip of the rock star, venture capitalist, philanthropist, and humanitarian in a speech he gave to students at Georgetown University in 2012:
"I know Americans say they have a bit of the world in them. And you do. The family tree has a lot of branches. But the thing is, the world has a bit of America in it, too. These truths, your truths...they are self-evident in us, There is no them, only us. That American anthem is not exceptionalism, it's universalism. There is no them, only us."
Former Congressman Bob McEwen (R-OH), who was also present for the screening called the film "an important piece of work. The United States of America holds a standard for the rest of the world." McEwen also said he believes D'Souza is pointing out through this film that "without America, the world would be much more unsafe."
D'Souza, who addressed the audience after the film, noted that the battle the nation is experiencing at this juncture is not just a political one, but rather "a political and cultural battle," he said. D'Souza explained that part of his goal with America was to "get an emotional response...make people feel."
He noted that America is only the beginning of a process that needs to continue and said that his 2012 film 2016: Obama's America--which grossed a whopping $33 million at the box office--"was a journey through space" and that with America, "we tried to take you on a journey through time."