It’s hard to say whether ‘Editing Propaganda‘ is a short film about the essentials of the cinematic illusion concept or a project that unmasks the imposture of manipulation techniques orchestrated by those behind the camera. Somehow, director Achinoam Morell manages to debate both dimensions in the same concise, but extremely captivating, documentary which marks a kind of initiation of the viewer in the backstage of cinema that aims to shape in a positive or negative way his or her perception. Indeed, despite the rational autonomy that any lucid cinephile or viewer assumes, cinematography ticks the category of those special instruments which, like literature or nuclear energy, may fall from the status of an essential invention or discovery for the good of humanity to that of an evil means able to completely compromise the physical and mental integrity of most individuals.


Perhaps the core of this experiment will not be a novelty for the viewers familiar with all those film related theories, however the director’s gesture is very commendable to our present’s social context, all the more so since the impact of TV manipulation has not diminished its intensity. Still, this documentary doesn’t intend to explore a dysfunctional reality from the very beginning, attacking the foundations of cinematography as a demonized practice since its origins, but it addresses an ambivalent perspective that follows the fragile line between the ethics of using the emotional energy of the image in a positive way and the conscious manipulation of the viewer. Thus, the element from which the creator of this project starts is precisely the semantic duplicity of the „propaganda” word which, although initially considered a positive notion, has become degraded because of its affiliation with political actions. In this regard, the director briefly orchestrates some case studies on how Nazi defenders have succeeded in supporting through such cinematographic techniques a messianic image assimilated by Hitler, proving how, even nowadays, the commercials or the electoral clips continue to distort objective reality by deliberately accessing sensitive areas of the viewer’s mind.


Cinematography is a form of manifestation when it comes to our emotional energy, but the fact that this revolutionary way of expression works with a much more palpable material for humans, namely the image, gives it a special status and a much higher force compared to the other arts. Therefore, one of the most important ideas of Achinoam Morell’s short documentary, beyond its informational consistency, is that cinema is a highly effective but unstable mechanism that, in the absence of specific deontology, can compromise both the quality of a true aesthetic experience, as well as the ‘interior’ of the spectator. Just as responsibility must be the attribute of powerful people, so the amazing ability of the image to shape our own perception must be the instrument of the moral people who have the duty to exploit the secrets of editing for our own benefit. ‘Editing Propaganda’ is not just about cinema, it’s about the essential link between human and image that is among the most important ways to discover the true face of the world in which we live.