Propaganda (2012) Poster


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Brilliant Expose or Brilliant Propaganda?
Actors Index6 January 2013
Israel, the USA, 9/11, democracy, religion, capitalism, advertising, TV, cinema, celebrities, computer gaming... they all sit firmly in the cross hairs of this brutally insulting critique of the West from a North Korean perspective. The scathing insults are dished out so heavily, yet supported so convincingly by actual footage backing their standpoint, it is compelling viewing. The calm and reasonable tones of the host and translator are soothingly believable, making this film either a shocking indictment of our era or one the most brilliant pieces of Propaganda in a generation. Either way, this film is compelling viewing.
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The North Korean Film that Isn't and the Western Decadence that Is
Karl Joad21 July 2013
I got the pleasure of enjoying this film as it was originally intended to be enjoyed. That is (if you are unaware of the film's origins) in the view that this was made for North Koreans originally. I found out roughly a week later that, sadly, the film was not from the hermit empire. Please, please, do not let that very minute fact deter you from witnessing this fantastic movie. It would be an absolutely depressing injustice to yourself to miss this opportunity to be surprised.

More to the film, it startled me deeply. I found it on YouTube, where the producer uploaded the whole thing, and was enticed by the concept of a North Korean film firing back accusations of propaganda. I'm far from politically biased, and though I do not sympathize with the North Korean government one bit, I have always felt that our lives in the West are products that we chose based mostly on class in a system that keeps us perpetually confused and complacent.

As the film progressed, I increasingly grew delirious as the many thoughts and concepts I've long had were funneled into a proper seemingly-authentic view from the outside in. The feelings you get sometimes, sitting with those you know, or sitting on the bus, or dealing with anything. The conversations we have, centered around gossip and products; new flashy technology and the reasons why or why not certain meaningless things are better than the other meaningless things. It frustrates me; it is modern-day alienation. We're all alienated, even if we sit next to each other, or feel we're in love.

Those who spit in the face of this aren't only shut down, they're outright forgotten. Our collective memory is depressingly short-term, letting us be surprised and "satisfied" with our world. Some real Brave New World stuff is happening in our lives now. We're reaching a pinnacle point where our lives, with all the meaning we attribute to it, via our fancy car, our hard-working job, our education, our money, really makes us the most useless population on the world for anything like cooperation, peace, or compassionate humanity.

This film is undoubtedly radical. Undoubtedly. It has since been "revealed" to be little more than an unusual social experiment, but it seems deep down that it is a proper leftist rant; the struggle and frustration that really only a Westerner could understand. It feels that in order to keep the topic away from the issue of discussing alternatives, it fell back on the incredibly controversial North Korea. People aren't allowed to view North Korea in anything but the most negative light, lest they be considered by some group somewhere as a sympathizer and potential terrorist. It is an excellent base from which to smash a lamp in the face of capitalism - the Enemy of the State. North Korea is our Emmanuel Goldstein, the object of our vibrant Two Minutes Hate. Who they are really doesn't matter anymore, what matters here is that we are having Two Minutes Hate. That's what this film aims to examine; our lives.

But this film is not about North Korea. No attempt by this movie really makes much effort to make this actually about North Korea. It is about us, and our countries, and our fellow man's struggle in it. It is an attempt to not only highlight, but force us to understand via shock, that we are not free simply because we are capable of saying so. It is an excellent video to educate Westerners who feel disenfranchised on some of the more sneaking methods by which we are trapped, by which we are not only put in chains, but are helping tighten them daily.

I give this movie a 10. I'd give this film another 10 for every ten some other fool felt compelled to give yet another super hero movie, or yet another drama series on television, or yet another cellphone's operating system.

Those who disagree with this film will do so because they feel capitalism is working properly and that this libelous slanderous lies against the Great West are fabrications and falsehoods cherished by leftists. Those who enjoy this film usually had a very deep personal connection with the film, sympathies difficult to articulate. It is more than just having someone agree with you, it's having someone understand your situation. It's more than just a leftist rant; it's a leftist cry.

The message from this movie is loud and clear: Wake up, and wake your fellow man. We need to take action.
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The perfect commentary on consumerism in West
facebook-48-45548320 July 2013
The perfect commentary on consumerism in West. No, it is not a genuine North Korean propaganda film. Yes, what it discusses is so damning, it could very well have been.

No thick story plot, or undertones to unearth, this piece of film tells it straight. You do not need to be intellectual to get this. Whether what it discusses is 100% factual, or not - me thinks the proof is in the pudding. It intends to build discussion, is the one thing I am sure of.

A perfect piece of propaganda, itself, it forces the audience to see themselves from the view of an unbiased third party. To look at the structure of our society, from the top to the bottom - something most of us are accustomed to knowing only in reverse(being the bottom-feeders that most of us are).

Engaging viewing that will no doubt provide for equally engaging discussion for years to come.
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Methodical, Scientific Mind Control Operations...
Petros Evdokas24 July 2012
Over several decades, GG and I have engaged in many types of anti-capitalist struggles, including mass mobilizations, protests, occupations, strikes, etc.; radical journalism; group studies and production of various forms of in-depth analyses of the global Empire's political economy, ideology, consumerism, dogma, military and diplomatic dynamics, and economics. We often critique politics within the Left, including theory and practice of progressive, radical and revolutionary organizations and individuals.

GG: "This is presented as a North Korean production, but some of the comments suggest that it's a fake. Any thoughts?"

Petros: "You have an incredible sense of timing, as always. Events around us keep bordering on catastrophe, while brutality, misery, and ignorance induced by the global Empire are at an all time peak.

And now you send me this movie about the system's methodical and scientific mind control operations..."

GG: "One glaring inaccuracy: It depicts the British Invasion (i.e. the Beatles) as happening after the anti-Vietnam War protests, not before. Otherwise, if in fact it is a production of North Korea, it demonstrates an encouraging sophistication in terms of its understanding the mass-psychology and propaganda system of the imperialist West.

What the documentary does very well is depict the average westerner's brain as occupied territory. It reminds me of the Gospel of Mark, chapter 5, which depicts Jesus exorcising a "Legion" of devils from a man who lived among the "tombs." Legion is code for the forces of the Roman Empire and "tombs" is code for the "Scribes and Pharisees," i.e. the church and state of the Jews (see Matthew 23:27). I think it's saying that the Empire has occupied our souls with the complicity and acquiescence of the local authorities. What we need is a mass exorcism!

But this time, I don't want to see any more pigs suffer because of the shameful condition of our species."

Petros: "I kept pausing the movie in order to contain my excitement. They articulate so well, so much that I want to say! Here's a few thoughts that might serve as a foundation for a future Critical Review.

If I were to pick on ONE cultural-political item today to explain to someone what the Liberation Movement is all about I'd pick this movie.

"Propaganda" has some shortcomings and deficiencies, but they are miniscule.

For example the thing you point out about the British Invasion. It's true of course that the most massive and militant anti-Vietnam war protests began after the Beatles' British Invasion. But protests against the war had already begun in 1960 and kept growing massively. So strictly speaking, there's no anachronism in the movie.

The number of homeless they gave, "38 million homeless Americans" sounds a little steep even for my sense of reality.

Official numbers in the US are usually one tenth of that (about 3,5 million). But then according to "official" numbers Canada comes out with more homeless per capita than the US! Clearly the US is under-reporting homelessness, but I don't think the real number is more than 10 to 15 million.

Another deficiency is that "Propaganda" hints at, but has no understanding of how perverted (manipulated) sexuality sustains a culture of ignorance, commodification, and brutality. According to Wilhelm Reich, MD., author of the very best scientific analysis of Fascism on the basis of oppressed and degenerated sexuality, all these constitute "secondary drives" produced by authoritarianism. One reason that the creators have a partial blind spot on sexuality is that stalinism, which is very strong in North Korea, is itself bound up with anti-sexual politics.

Then there's the image of North Korea, itself. Most EuroAmerican Leftists are embarrassed by it. Imperialist media keep presenting North Korea in such a bad light that it's impossible to defend it, even in the eyes of "rational" people - propaganda and distortion is so vile that any rational discussion about North Korea is condemned before it even starts.

Therefore, their discomfort with the movie, influenced by the country's image peaking out through the movie introspectively, is invalid. Most Leftists in the advanced industrial world usually are unable to perceive reality in their own countries, never mind North Korea.

I found that the movie is an astounding improvement over Guy Debord's "Society of the Spectacle", which is the pinnacle of the Situationists' critique of modern society on the basis of the Spectacle, the newest form into which alienation (in the marxist sense) congeals in our era.

Alienation, the separation between products and producers, is no longer just a need driving us to market. In our era, alienation congeals into something material, experienceable: the Spectacle, more than just urging us to the market, creates our own image of ourselves within our heads, defining our reality.

And as our friend Sue S. pointed out, "Propaganda" has overtones from Chomsky's "Manufacturing Consent" and from Naomi Klein's work. Still there's something unique in this movie; it has character and personality; often one can discern the hand of masters at the editing tool.

Also I was shocked to find mention of the Truth about September 11 in the movie! A taboo that came up so naturally...

I definitely agree with you about the need to (re)exorcise that demon named "Legion" who plagues our society; I'm with you! The movie gets a zero in making a differentiation between authoritarian religion (enforced bondage to church), and a freely chosen Spirituality embodying Liberation Theology, a moral force of the revolution. Also, they fail to see that the Bible contains some spiritual, scientific and historical Truth of great value along with all the dogma, hatred, falsifications, distortions and mind-numbing irrelevancies.

Still, with all of its weak elements or deficiencies I'd gladly promote "Propaganda", and perhaps a critique such as this might empower its message.
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Very.... interesting movie
whose_your_daddy_19992 December 2013
I recently watched this movie, despite other movies being made in North Korea that covered America, this one is much much different. In past films, silly claims would be made such as "Americans live in tents and they drink snow all day" (this is not an exaggeration either), this one contains a huge amount of footage of various parts of Americana and many of the criticisms would be deemed legit depending on who you are talking to.

Part of this leads me to believe that the movie may not have been made in North Korea - I am not sure and would be interested to hear various responses. Beyond this, many of the criticisms brought up also apply to North Korea (in most cases, far far more too). The documentary is well written and well produced, it makes me wonder how it's creators feel about their own country (which has committed some of the greatest crimes against it's citizens compared to virtually any other country in the world).

As I mentioned, many of the criticisms you may actually end up agreeing with yourself, perhaps not. The big picture is though that despite the world the North Koreans are living in, between the violence, starvation, propaganda and more, it suggests that the US citizens in some ways deal with the exact same things.

Some of the criticisms: - The US is dominated by two political parties which essentially share the same views on most topics, aside from a few different things that could be considered "trivial". In light of this, the citizens may not be able to actually elect politicians that match their views, as they end up having to vote for either the republicans leading choice, or the democrats leading choice.

  • Religion being used as a tool to oppress people not in the majority, as well as for a justification for invading other countries and promoting US propaganda. The movie contends that our political leaders, who have never experienced combat themselves, send troops to foreign lands that kill the enemy as well as innocent citizens alike, and then these people go to church and pray so they are absolved of any wrong doing.

  • 1% of the population is controlling the remaining 99% of the population, thru methods of heavily advertising products that most people don't need, so they stay in debt, through controlling government legislature, and through promoting their own beliefs (which benefit themselves) through media outlets such as on TV.

  • The US is also criticized for invading foreign countries under the guise of bringing "democracy", when in many cases, those countries already had a democracy. It mentions that every time the US has done this, the situation has never improved after the US has left (it states this has been going on for over 50 years and not once was there an improved country).

These are only a few of the criticisms though, as you can see, the criticisms are ironic considering the acts that North Korea commits on it's own citizens, but it also shows that in some ways we may not be as free as we believe we are. You may agree or disagree, either way it's an interesting topic.

Beyond that, there are some graphic pictures, few are overly graphic in my opinion though. Worth checking out, but keep in mind this is a propaganda movie and the movie ignores the actual events that go on day to day in North Korea itself.
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Eye opening look at how the USA pulls the wool over our eyes every day
sarahsimpson99910 January 2014
I'm a well travelled, well educated person. But it wasn't until I saw Propaganda that I realized how, I like others, have had the blinkers on. Seeing this movie and then sitting back and thinking, before watching it again, was my first experience of being unplugged from the Matrix. This movie will make you realize that marketing, media and manufacturers ie - big business, work to distract us from the political truth, with consumer goods and wafer thin 'celebrities'. And we suck it up like pigs at the trough, never questioning why we stare goggle eyed at the telly lapping up every word people like Kim Kardashian utter. I want to say thanks to the producers of this film and recommend, even the die hard American supporters (and anyone from the West) to at least be open minded enough to watch and wonder. This is to documentaries what Aldous Huxley's Brave New World was to books, when are we going to sit up and listen?
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A biting, searing and often humorous critique of the West
truffautgodard22 July 2013
Warning: Spoilers
History is usually written by the winners. This time though, "Propaganda" digs in and shows a more honest portrayal of it, from the perspective of outsiders in the grand tradition of Howard Zinn, Noam Chomsky and Chris Hedges, all important intellectuals of our time.

Propaganda is a powerful, poignant critique of modern history that you don't learn in your history class. It is in many ways, a way to reveal the man behind the curtain that is running things in this modern, corporate totalitarian oligarchy, and it does it with powerful and unforgettable imagery..

It is a film that shows how Western people, and more specifically the US and the UK are distracted by entertainment and consumerism while our leaders continue to plunder the world, killing not only foreigners, but ourselves as well by our lax drug and food laws. The most startling fact is that 10 percent of Americans can't find the US on a map.

Propaganda analyzes the changing US attitude of international stoicism into their rise to global imperial power - and how that change happened - during WWII, when America really changed into what it is now. This is an important part of US History many do not focus on.

And of course the genius of the film is that its from the perspective of North Korea - one of the few countries that does not buy into the global corporate world order, so it can freely criticize how the global Corporation runs the world.

It's a brilliant follow-up doc to "the Corporation."

One review I saw criticized the final chapter and looking into 9/11 as a conspiracy, and I agree it's quite brief part of the film and the film could have probably done without it, but that doesn't stop the power that this film has.

I hope you watch it and you encourage your friends to watch it on online, where it is available for free.
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The propaganda film that wasn't (but still is).
Jack_McSchmock5 March 2014
Wait a minute, a mockumentary pretending to be a real propaganda movie to deconstruct the mechanisms of propaganda by the means of propaganda? An undercover release via YouTube as a calculated part of the viral campaign for a guerrilla film that is sailing the seas of consciousness under a false black flag? A made-up but nonetheless disturbingly accurate and hard-hitting critique of western society and civilization, allegedly through the eyes of a north korean Professor of Psychology, which deliberately contains some glaring factual inaccuracies but also many bitter truths?

Uh, err... wow, let me stomach this first.

What one really has to admire is the messed-up genius behind director Slavko Martinov's first work, which he reportedly assembled literally without any budget, over the course of eight years. Not only because the movie is beautifully crafted in its mixture of fact, fiction and... yes, propaganda, but also because this has to be the most intelligent viral campaign that I've seen so far. How successful and relevant it is can be easily measured by the fact that while I write this, there are still discussions taking place where this movie is viewed and argued as "authentic" from both sides, despite the fact that its true nature has been revealed many months ago and there are even IMDb and Facebook entries for it. But anyway, I'd predict that people unaware of its true origin will continue to do so for years to come, because this reflects exactly the kind of "research" many people do before stating their opinions - none.

By the way, when asked for the inherent message of his film, this is what Marinov had to say: "Question everything; everything you read, see, or hear. It's a simple thing and everyone is capable of doing it."

I can only subscribe to that.

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Genius and incredibly relevant for 2017
vijay thakur25 January 2017
Warning: Spoilers
This movie deserves an Oscar nomination: the concept, the narrative, the theme and guerrilla marketing around it - this is all genius.

The director has worked hard to create a fantastic and compellingly realistic mocumentary which embraces the viewer into this twisted but possibly accurate portrayal of modern-day 21st Century geopolitics.

Once you've viewed this, you realize that the process has been repeated time after time throughout history. Perhaps today, it's even more relevant because of recent events, and the #alternativefacts philosophy which may prevail for some time now.

Watch with caution!
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Propaganda about propaganda
eraserdead26 September 2013
Propaganda film about propaganda made under the guise of a North Korean film but was actually made by filmmakers from New Zealand. Despite the terrible and hypocritical starting point of attempting to experiment with the propaganda that the film itself has such a disdain for, it does provide a chilling insight into the decline of Western civilization and proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that fascism - erm, sorry, I meant capitalism - is the driving force behind the way the most powerful nations on earth are built, structured and lead and that the only way out of this is by a social revolution that will never come without mass destruction.
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