Directed by | Álvaro Longoria
Produced by | Álvaro Longoria, Tanja Georgieva, Alexandra Lebret, Ana Castañosa, Marta Gila, David Atlan Jackson, Joel Thibout, Fernando Velázquez
Written by | Álvaro Longoria
Starring | n/a – documentary feature
Run Time | 93 minutes
Certificate | 15
Plot | Filmmaker Álvaro Longoria observes and interviews people on either side of the ongoing propaganda game that engulfs North Korea.
Review | Released here to minimal fanfare back in February, Longoria (probably most famous for producing Che) has put together a compelling look at the North Korean situation, focussing on the use of propaganda and how it is used to either support or undermine the status quo.
Documentary crews are rarely allowed in the isolationist state, but Longoria managed to get limited, supervised access through Alejandro Cao de Benós, a Spanish sympathiser who works for the DPRK government as a sort of cultural ambassador.
Benós actually becomes one of the recurring interviewees for the film and, while some may question his single-minded adoration of the country, one cannot dispute that he makes for a fascinating central character.
On the content of The Propaganda Game, the viewer is likely to be conflicted. Propaganda from both North Korea and the United States (plus talking head interviews from these countries, plus UN representatives, the Chinese media, Amnesty International and an odd defector or two) is juxtaposed with the scenes that Longoria was permitted to film. Those scenes show what is purported to be the everyday life of the normal korean citizen – one that is generally happy and with a little more freedom than is probably inferred by Western Media.
Ultimately, Longoria has left it for the viewer to make up their own minds. While it is difficult to say how much of what was filmed was staged for him and how much was true to reality, there is no denying that this is a fascinating documentary with unprecedented high quality video footage of the world’s most secretive capital.