The Propaganda Game is a Documentary that seeks to look at how we are all being manipulated by propaganda. As a case study it uses North Korea as North Korea is commonly cited as a country with one of the most extreme and thorough propaganda machines. So we are transported on a journey through North Korea guided by the Spaniard Alejandro Cao who left Spain and relocated to North Korea over 20 years ago. To say he is a fanatic would be an understatement. He completely believes in North Korea and has a pro-North Korean answer for every question.
We are shown everything from young children aged 5-9 singing songs of praise to the leader of the country all the way to the elderly going to a gigantic bronze statue of the leader to bow and pay their respects. We get a look at what they are being told in school about the outside world (that it is a mess and outside nations are all looking up to North Korea), to what they are told about history (that America invaded North Korea starting the Korean War). Even in terms of the current aggressors, we get a picture of their minds on current affairs when the film ventures into the demilitarized zone to talk to North Korean Soldiers stationed there. It is mentioned in this sequence that there have been by North Korean accounting over 800,000 Armistice violations by the US. While it is never mentioned that the Korean War never ended (it’s in a cease fire) that is an important piece of understanding the North Korean view. They feel like they need a strong military to keep the westerners at bay and spend a rather large portion of their GDP on their military. But again, this isn’t a documentary on North Korean history or the war but a documentary on propaganda.
In terms of it covering the subject of propaganda I’d say it did a very good job of showing without articulating. You are simply brought along for the ride which makes it effective if you are paying attention but if you like to be fed what to think and what is going on this isn’t a documentary for you. It was balanced having contrasting opinions given from both sides of nearly every point covered and is more a look at this now what do you think and feel type documentary. Overall I’d definitely recommend it, the only things I’d say it was missing in my opinion was a little more history. I understand it wasn’t necessarily about North Korea so much as about propaganda but the center piece is North Korea so more context would have been helpful in the form of facts, counter-facts and sources. It’s also easy to get lost in and lose track of what you are supposed to be following and paying attention to, while I’m sure this is intended from my perspective with talking to the people I followed up with after they watched it, it hampers the message and points of the documentary.