PUFF2013: Propaganda, A Mockumentary

Saturday night’s PUFF screening took place at XXX Gallery in Sai Wan. The main feature entitled, “Propaganda—A North Korean Film,” is supposedly a North Korean exposé on the West’s defilement on humanity, but was really directed by Slavko Martinov who hails from New Zealand. The film’s only North Korean source was played by South Korean Kiwi Eugene Chang, a truffle farmer living in Christchurch.

(source)

Have you ever watched Zeitgeist: The Movie? That documentary-style film was released in 2007 and also talked about western propaganda and other conspiracy theories. Propaganda is an extended and more detailed version of that, with a “North Korean” narrative, and while Zeitgeist focused more on American conspiracies, Propaganda revealed conspiracies across other westernized countries (though America was still a top contributor). It was also very graphic. Definitely not for the faint of heart.

I watched Zeitgeist when I was about 20 years old and cried after viewing it. I guess I was a lot more sensitive back then. Propaganda was very uncomfortable to watch as it exposed seemingly valid fact after fact, splashed with grotesque images of mutilated human bodies. Actual footage from various wars were shown. If Zeitgeist was an hors d’oeuvres, Propaganda was the bloody feast. Pun intended.

However, the director and Mr. Chang would like to remind you that this film is a satire and completely fictional. Unfortunately for Eugene and his family, the movie sparked controversy within his Korean community and he is now being ostracized on suspicions of being a North Korean spy, and as a practicing Catholic, for speaking ill of his religion. (Even his own priest refused to talk to him.) (source) But this bad publicity did wonders for the film, allowing it to be screened at a prominent film festival in Amsterdam as well as other festivals around the world, and is currently being translated into various languages. (source)

Despite the fact that this is a mockumentary, Propaganda is eye-opening and forces all capitalist consumers to face the most undesirable questions: am I really lovin’ it? Do I really want fries with that? And one cannot deny the unsurmountable evidence of what agitprop—in the form of advertising and television news—has done to the masses.


(source)

The full film is available to watch online. Again, a warning to the faint-hearted. While the film is fictional, these images of violence are very, very real.


This has been my last PUFF2013 screening as I am unable to attend the final showing tonight. Thanks so much PUFF for screening these films and giving me something to watch and write about! And kudos to mutuallyawkward for letting me know about PUFF in the first place. I look forward to next year’s fest. :)

Feature image from here
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3 responses to “PUFF2013: Propaganda, A Mockumentary

  1. Really interesting about what happened to Eugene Chang. It’s pretty crazy how he’s suspected of being a North Korean spy even though it’s pretty public on how the film was really made.

    • Yeah, apparently people couldn’t accept that he was only acting. Even the South Korean government got involved and questioned the director. I think that’s why the New Zealand news did a feature on Eugene so he could clear his name. Unfortunately the news video I was watching stopped halfway and I couldn’t watch it further so idk if things are better for him now.

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