‘Our New President’ takes a new look on the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign
- Thu. 1/18, 6:30 p.m., Egyptian, PC
- Fri. 1/19, 9:00 a.m., Temple, PC
- Fri. 1/19, 6:00 p.m., Sundance Resort, Provo
- Sat. 1/20, 11:59 p.m., Broadway 6, SLC
- Thu. 1/25, 9:30 p.m., Ray, PC
- Fri. 1/26, 3:00 p.m., Temple, PC
“Fake realities will create fake humans. Or, fake humans will generate fake realities and then sell them to other humans, turning them, eventually, into forgeries of themselves.”
–Phillip K. Dick
If you thought consuming television news during the 2016 U.S. presidential election cycle was a dizzying ride, you should have seen it from the Russian side. Well, prepare yourself for a visit to the Mother Ship, a vessel running on “gullible gas,” one of the higher octane’s of the time.
Filmmaker Maxim Pozdorovkin, whose films include “Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer,” which walked away with the 2013 Sundance Film Festival Special Jury Prize, has, in 2018, brought us as dizzying a cinematic roller coaster ride as you could imagine.
“Our New President,” an opening day selection screening in the “World Cinema Documentary Competition,” keeps up the pressure on the old cranial lobes, let me tell you. You can see where Fox News learned their well-honed “piling-on” technique.
Take RT (Russia Today), Vesti and NTV, for example, state-run news outlets in Putin’s Russia. Over-and-over, against a continually looping video backdrop of Hillary Clinton tripping, coughing, gagging, and maniacally laughing in 4-second snippets, the dark spell is cast.
Evolving out of the often visited fake news story that ever since an encounter with a mummy in its glass tomb during the late ‘90s, Hillary has been plagued by physical and psychological maladies from chronic-fatigue syndrome and fainting spells, to even committing sexual abuse and murder, the murky shadow is cast.
Hard to believe? Not if you’re a news consumer whose lack of sources has them, Kubrick-like, figuratively restrained in a chair with eyes propped open while being pounded by the same story over and over until their brain is mush. Just one example out of many propagated by Putin’s fake news arm and endorsed by their American cronies at Fox.
Lucky for us, we have a gifted filmmaker in Maxim Pozdorovkin to artfully and satirically craft Trump’s election and first year in office entirely through the lens of Russian propaganda. Taking us from the horrifying to the hilarious, “Our New President” demonstrates the current inability of the human mind to pare wheat from chaff.
In his “Director’s Statement,” Pozdorovkin tells how when a film editor returned to their office in New York following a trip to Russia with a story that the motherland was “very excited about Trump,” he recognized a pattern he first came across while shooting the “Pussy Riot” film.
“To understand the sentiment we began collecting material about the American election produced by Russian television, a weapon often use by Vladimir Putin to manipulate public opinion,” Pozdorovkin added. “While making ‘Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer,’ I had firsthand experience of how the Kremlin used television to stifle dissent by demonizing the opposition.”
Having been there and seen that, he goes on to tell that “we gathered a massive archive of disinformation. In the process, we uncovered a galaxy of plausibly ‘newsy’ sites and YouTube channels that existed solely to re-circulate Russian propaganda. Much of the re-circulated material was create by English language network Russia Today.”
Pozdorovkin goes on to say that “the main idea of this film is to tell the story of the American election entirely through falsehoods perpetrated by the Kremlin – to use the news in order to weave an entirely fictional story.”
Buy the ticket, take the ride. Oh, that’s right, you’re already on board. Then just hang on until, hopefully, Americans “right” the ship.
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Daniel Thurston is Park City Library’s new Spanish services librarian.