Watch this only if you want to see what true neo-Soviet propaganda looks like. The first warning sign were the almost contentless extended “emotional” scenes, featuring everyday life and people emoting at length. These are how the audience is conditioned to be receptive.
The movie starts, as do all good propaganda films, with a view of normal life and a pressing conflict: capture the serial killer who is killing random innocent people. In the best style of a struggle session, however, the goal of the movie is inversion, which makes it practical.
After all, propaganda seeks a dialogue, just not with its audience. You want to see two characters discuss a problem and come to a conclusion that supports whatever those who funded the propaganda want to sell. Language is a virus, and it is used for mass mind control quite effectively.
The outside jacket of gritty police drama, then the inner emotional layer, serve to set up the movie for its final fifteen minutes in which it preaches its point directly to you, in words. Until then, it is merely tuning emotions to set up a feeling emptiness and seeking a solid, concrete, and finite answer.
It will give that answer. Like all good propaganda, it never promises that it is true. It simply presents it in an emotional context that forces you to either accept it, or take the opposite position, which most are simply unwilling to do.
For example, consider a movie that pitches the basic idea that money is freedom. We would see characters struggling against the system of money, only to confront the need — in the end — for money in order to achieve their personal goals. Good propaganda moves the political into the personal, not the other way around.
In the case of In the Shadow of the Moon, you will be watching neo-Soviet diversity propaganda wrapped in an emo family family drama wrapped in a police procedural. It seems innocent, and attempts to lull you into sleep and a state of emotional need, then blares 1917 slogans right into your ear.
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Author: Brett Stevens