Our New President Screen 5 articles

Our New President

2018

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  • I have read reviews that seem to indicate that, at a mere 70 minutes, it goes on too long. I am perplexed by this judgment, since to me it is the very model of an issue-oriented documentary. It is clear and specific, well-argued, and never loses focus. While it's ostensibly about Russian collusion in the 2017 election, that is actually just the topic that the filmmakers use to ground their larger argument. This is a deep dive into the Russian propaganda machine, directly lorded over by Putin.

  • I suppose all this might have been chilling if Russia itself ever had a reputation for journalistic integrity or rigor. What the film does demonstrate is the failure of the country to develop a culture of public discourse or honesty, but that’s an analog of its failure to establish democratic institutions. . . . The rot, in other words, lies deeper. Our New President merely scratches the surface, and in its own way, comes to embody the plague of shallow spectacle it purports to fight against.

  • Depending on how much you’ve read about e.g. the international “news network” Russia Today or its flagship anchorman Dmitri Kiselyov, Our New President will be eye-opening (for the totally uninformed), a useful side-dossier (for Russiagate moderate-level students), or a morbidly amusing refresher/anthology of the kitschiest crass propaganda Russian TV can offer (expert level).

  • The framing device is a bit clunky, the cut-off point sometime around the Hamburg G20 conference seems a bit arbitrary, and the provenance of some clips a bit confusing. Nevertheless, this is still an impressively assembled work, edited with brio by Pozdorovkin and Matvey Kulakov. Moreover, even the most hardened news junkies . . . may gasp at the open misogyny, racism and sheer stupidity on display here from some citizens of the steppes.

  • It is as though we are witnessing a sophisticated disinformation campaign unfold before our eyes; this is, at some level, the origin story of our own election news nightmare. The editing allows for the clips to be almost in dialogue with each other, taking the claim made in the first, adjusting it a little and regurgitating it with a slightly altered and more alarming message of Clinton’s health, like a lethal game of Telephone, where world politics hangs in the balance.

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