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| 7 June 2018 | Reply

Directed by Maxim Pozdorovkin
Reviewed by Shane Pinnegar

Bizarre, hilarious and jaw-droppingly WTF in turns, Our New president is a challenging new documentary from Maxim Pozdorovkin which cobbles together Russian State Television footage and YouTube/home movie-sourced snippets and songs from Russian people to tell the story of Trump’s election campaign and victory.

The absence of a voice-over to guide the viewer through the often-insane propaganda shown on Russian screens makes it difficult to deduce the director’s narrative. Is this real found footage or is it filmed for the film? Is it satire or documentary – or both, and how do the two live hand in hand?

We’ve all heard of the controlling nature of Cold War communist Russia, but haven’t we been led to believe that the Federation is now a democracy? Scenes of TV stations being told to report only in favour of the government are gob smackingly confronting to our democratic eyes. Throw in Trump’s ‘fake news’ campaigns, behaviour from Hillary Clinton which the Russians need to do little with to place her health, sanity and motives in question, and a feeling amongst the Russian home movies that Trump is Russia’s new US president, and you have a very weird scene, indeed.

And yet underneath it all, there are elements here that COULD be true. The take away from Our New President is that this is most likely a scathing diatribe against the Russian political & media systems, but one can’t help but wonder: what if it is Russian Propaganda to convince the West that Trump really was a Russian puppet-king? Or that everything they suggest is true, and Western democracy is actually worse than communist propaganda.

The lack of narrative to this collage encourages us to make up our own minds about what Pozdorovkin wants to say – but it also means we have little context so we’re left flailing at the absurdity of much of it, wondering “what the fuck did we just watch?!?” That is healthy in that Our New President will provoke thought and discussion, but a little context would have helped a lot.

Perhaps a major clue lies in the Philip K Dick quote displayed at the front of the film, so fleetingly (and itself without the context of what is to come) that it’s important to remind oneself of it throughout:
“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.”

Category: Movie & Theatre Reviews

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