What Constitutes a Film as Propaganda

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41. What constitutes a film as propaganda (the attempt to convert the viewer to a particular ideological, political, and/or religious belief system)? Analyze one scene from one film that is an example of propaganda. What is the director trying to achieve in this scene, i.e. what message is he trying to relay to the viewer? The best propaganda is the one in which the audience is unaware of the message being conveyed to them. Film has the ability to accomplish this by forcing the viewer to dive head first into a world created by the director. Film provides a sense, to the viewer, of real time and real world interactions with what is going on the screen. Editing techniques and careful scene development have the potential to elicit strong emotional responses in the viewer – a crucial aspect in converting someone’s preconceived beliefs to those of your own. The director of Battleship Potemkin accomplishes his goal of garnering support for the Russian revolution through the inclusion of a graphic massacre of ordinary women and children citizens by the hands of the ruling Russian forces. This scene in question was the massacre at the Odessa steps. In this scene the director uses rapid camera changes to convey a sense of fast paced action and fighting coupled with gruesome images of blood stained steps and people. In addition to these, the director utilizes some elements of montage by stitching together difference scenes; one showing a baby carriage carrying a baby rolling down the steps out of control after its mother is shown dying at the hands of the Russian regime. This is meant to imply the death of the baby in order to elicit a specific emotional response of sadness for the loss of the mother and child, as well as anger towards the Russian powers that killed them. The reason for the director aiming for these specific emotions in the viewer is because anger and
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