Sundance doc ‘Our New President’ presents psychedelic vision of US election through a fake news lens


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If the sensation on the pretty liberal leaning Sundance Movie Competition — held final yr after Trump’s election however earlier than the inauguration —was certainly one of impending doom, this yr it’s all about prophecy fulfilled.

From asides about how horrible final yr was by program administrators earlier than screenings to a slate peppered with documentaries and different packages that discover the influence of social media and the altering nature of reports on society, the President is a presence.

One such doc was ‘Our New President’, by Maxim Pozdorovkin. Assembled fully out of both novice or Russian tv information footage that the director hoped would compose “a movie that makes use of the information to inform a narrative and not using a single true assertion.”

For the movie, Pozdorovkin assembled a bunch of Russian information footage, principally from RT and NTV, that are each authorities managed now. The footage incorporates statements designed to craft a picture of Hillary Clinton as an ailing, insane, inept chief and Donald Trump as a conquering hero that respects and loves Russia. It additionally paints all Russian residents with a broad brush as unable to make up their very own thoughts as a result of they’re brainwashed by falsehoods pounded into the form of fact by state media.

None of these issues are true, however the energy of repetition with authority to warp minds is kind of the purpose of the movie.

There are two main themes. One is a simple by way of a mirror darkly imaginative and prescient of the US election by way of Russian media machine eyes. A number of the statements within the information clips within the movie made the viewers chuckle out loud (the “ha ha, we all know higher” response) and a few made them gasp in horror (“who would imagine such an outlandish factor?”)

Nothing right here is all that recent. When you’ve spent any time on the Web, no matter whether or not you’re a Trump supporter or horror-struck at his governance, the subject of Russian media, hacking to help (or later discredit when mandatory) Trump’s presidency and whether or not information is ‘pretend’ or ‘actual’ has been on the high of each household meal dialogue record. Many of those clips have been extensively circulated earlier than, particularly the certainly one of now-indicted Trump advisor Michael Flynn at a dinner with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The second meta theme is the decimation of the essential idea of fact. In a single standout clip, Russian ersatz-right-wing-pundit Dmitry Kiselyov flat-out tells a bunch of journalists at RT being transitioned into authorities management that if the media says one thing that’s not fact-based, however helps the federal government agenda, then that’s fact sufficient.

It’s this fixed pounding and cross-referencing of falsehoods as fact or, much more sinister, the 1-to-1 alignment of fact and opinion as equal and equal, that threatens to interrupt by way of the comparatively speedy fireplace and context-free clip meeting job of ‘Our New President’.

It’s too dangerous I didn’t prefer it extra.

A lot of the influence of the entire thing is sadly blunted by the truth that RT and NTV are state-run media and are subsequently anticipated to exert their energy to current a “fact” that helps the state agenda. I might have watched the heck out of a doc like this that assembles a story from each Fox Information clips and liberal media within the US and presents them as a juxtaposition. ‘Our New President’ is content material to face at arm’s size.

It’s the documentary equal of a late-night substance altered YouTube crawl by way of Russian propo clips the place you say “wow, isn’t this loopy” earlier than passing out with a Doritos bag in your chest.

The shortage of context, the clumsy framing of the story as a curse placed on Clinton by a Russian mummy that itself seems to be pretend and the shortage of willingness to say one thing past “take a look at this” reduces the influence of the themes above, ones which are effectively value investigating.

Primarily, I believe it’s simply too lengthy.

Once I was going into the screening I mis-read the working time and thought that it was going to be 15 minutes lengthy. It isn’t, it’s as an alternative 77 minutes of clips strung collectively. By the 40th minute I couldn’t watch for the 78th minute.

In actual fact, that is an prolonged model of a 15-minute quick that Pozdorovkin made final yr. I haven’t seen that model however I think about that it was in all probability rather a lot higher by nature of getting to get in and get out and make its level.

In an interview this week, Pozdorovkin mentioned that he and editor Matney Kulakov knew that “one artistic query towered above all others: how the hell will we make this watchable for 78 minutes?”

Sadly, the reply is: you don’t.

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