Hollywood, Film & Politics
Chapter 3: Nonfiction Film: Picturing Reality?
“I’m not a fan of Michael Moore’s. I think he is an entertainer. I don’t think he’s interested in complexity.” —Frederick Wiseman “Propaganda is to a democracy what the bludgeon is to a totalitarian state.” —Noam Chomsky, Professor of Linguistics “The easiest way to inject a propaganda idea into most people’s minds is to let it go in through the medium of an entertainment picture when they do not realize that they are being propagandized.” —Elmer Davis, Office of War Information (OWI) Director during WWII “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.” —Joseph Goebbels, Reich Minister of Propaganda The opening scene of Leni Riefenstahl’s documentary Triumph of the Will, depicting the 1934 Nazi Party conference in Nuremberg, pans across the sky as it tracks the landing of a small twin-engine plane. When the plane lands, the door opens and Adolph Hitler emerges triumphant, greeted by the worshiping faces of a crowd waving flags and offering party sa- lutes. It is a dramatic introduction to one of the greatest propaganda films on record, a...
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