Hot Docs review: Propaganda: The Art Of Selling Lies


PROPAGANDA: THE ART OF SELLING LIES (Larry Weinstein, Canada/Germany). 90 minutes. Rating: NNN

It’s difficult to distill the history of propaganda, including Alexander the Great statues and the Neanderthal handprints in El Castillo cave, into 90 minutes, but this doc gives it a solid effort, telling it through the lens of art.

Weinstein weaves together archival footage and interviews, but at a certain point the doc feels like it’s bursting with historians, psychoanalysts, activists and others. Propaganda winds up being far too broad, drawing a line between those cave handprints to “propaganda artist” Steve Bannon and The Bachelor reality show.

The film truly shines when we hear from the artists themselves, discussing the intentions of their works. I wanted more time than the glimpses of Cree artist Kent Monkman, who inserts Indigenous characters into Western European and American art Irish artist Jim Fitzpatrick, the creator of the famous Che Guevara poster and even Tyler Shields, the photographer behind Kathy Griffin’s 2017 photo holding a bloodied mask of Donald Trump.

Apr 28, 9 pm, TIFF 1 Apr 30, 3:15 pm, Isabel Bader May 3, 9 pm, TIFF 2



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