Two films, or collection of
films, of propaganda!!! The first against wild capitalism but from a populist
point of view, progressive or reactionary doesn’t matter, does it? The second
for the Soviet Union, as set of agitprop declared as such, beautiful
artistically for some of them and supporting a simple point of view, though I
must say the use of Gounod’s Ave Maria in the early 60s to show the atrocity of
the Vietnam War is an astonishing and bewildering beautiful image.
GEORGE CLOONEY – MONEY MONSTER – 2016
The film is well built as a
thriller. It is also well built as an argumentative film on a highly political
subject. To give the list of the subjects it considers is just enough to cover the
seriousness of the discourse.
1- The criminal financial
manipulation and machination of some big financier who can in one click of a
finger hijack 800 million dollars causing a tremendous crash for a company and
buying cheap the shares of a mining complex crippled by a strike that is
financed by the said financier. That and I should emphasize that “that” into “thaaaaat”
financier really does not care about the million of people he has ruined
overnight and all the suffering that goes along with it. Of course as soon as he
has bought the mining complex he wants he will break the strike by famishing
the leaders he more or less bribed and who will then discover there is a second
level in the fact the money is in worthless bonds or because he will bring in
some private – or public – police force to break these strikers. You know the tactic:
“Kill them all, and ask questions afterwards.”
2- The police who are supposed to
protect simple people consider that anyone who steps out of the simple path and
behavior they are supposed to have and keep is a criminal and once again the
same principle comes up: “Kill them all, and ask questions afterwards.” With
maybe a slight nuance in color, like “especially if they are dark-skinned.” But
that is not shown here.
3- The media are rotten, and yet
in front of some emergency, some people, reporters, cameramen or anchorpersons
may reveal themselves as heroic and even ethical. Rotten financiers expect
these media people to be only interested in the glory and limelight of their position.
The police and other bureaucratic armed forces expect media people to stay out
of the way and resent when they dare do something that questions their police
integrity. Don’t tell me about politicians. Ask François Hollande for one how
he likes two journalists publishing his private remark about the judges and
other judicial personnel in France
being a set of cowards. Let these two journalists have some kind of hideout or
even underground shelter. They will not be welcome in the next press conference
of the said president.
4- Then the mass of the people
are just supporting the one who wins. If it is the criminal they support him.
If it is the reporter they support him. If it is the financier they support
him. The people are easy to manipulate and to blindfold in some lie and tall tale.
They always support the winner. And that’s where the film is weak because the “criminal”
is not explored in his real motivations. His pregnant wife is typically
covering her backside by rejecting him in an extreme diatribe. The anchorman is
not really explored at all, just given as a showman. Around him it is the same.
The financier is just bluntly and brutally rejected as the real rat in the granary.
And his public relation officer is betraying him and at once runs away from
that sinking boat leaving the rat of her boss sink with it.
In fact it is so clear-cut and unquestioning
that we could consider that is pure propaganda for populist movements like
Podemos in Spain, or Occupy
Wall Street in New York.
Unluckily it is the same kind of discourse that would be used by the extreme
right populist movements all over the world. The difference between progressive
and reactionary populist discourses is in the detailed exploration of the motivation
of the protagonists. None of that here! In other words the 14th Amendment
to the US Constitution is not exactly respected.
Dr Jacques COULARDEAU
PROPAGANDA – 1997
This set of four DVDs would have
been great if they had not been heavily overloaded with four introductions that
are sectarian, one-sided blabbering attempts to make us think that what these
films are about is evil, devilish, ugly, despicable, and a few other things
like that. All countries are doing that kind of propaganda, some even call it
agitprop, which is a dignified genre in literature and theater with among other
names Bertolt Brecht but our democrats generally wrap it up in some kind of
patriotic and even artistic garb that means something like garment, clothing, wrapping,
etc, and has little to do with garbage. Though indeed in reality . . . !
The films are most of them short,
more or less short from very short to rather short and they all have qualities
due to the techniques used to produce them, the editing used quite freely and
the creativity at times to have special effects even before they existed. And
do not believe Méliès invented special effect. He invented accidental cut and
accidental editing that turned a cow into a tram because the camera had stopped
on the cow and had started again on a tram.
We have here real special effects
and great editing, without speaking of the animation that is at times frankly
creative and even avant-garde, and of the voices and music when there was music
(composed by rather inspired composers) and voices after the silent cinema gave
way to the talkies. The film on Mayakovsky for example is a great example of
animation and voice performing. The moralistic tone might irritate westerners
because it advocates Soviet morality and history, but just watch the Walt
Disney film on Pocahontas and you will have a remarkable film of colonial
propaganda justifying the extermination of Indians, once they had been
exterminated. There is no contrition at all about her being forced to marry
someone she hardly knew after being abducted, Christianized and having given
her knowhow on how to grow and cure tobacco.
Anyone who is interested in animated
films and in the history of the Soviet Union
has to get these DVDs and watch these films. Just use the menu and jump over the
introductory political lessons from some western servile writer.
Dr Jacques COULARDEAU