14th Mar2016

The Propaganda Game / Lapse of Honour (Film/DVD)

by timbaros

image001Two new films explore North Korean and Manchester societies


Spanish filmmaker Álvaro Longoria was granted access to film in North Korea and he has turned this footage into a documentary called ‘The Propaganda Game.’

Is what he is filming propaganda? Are the people in the streets real or is it all staged? Longoria was granted controlled access by the government of the DPRK (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) to film in 2014. Him and his team were taken around the country by national officials, and not left alone at any time.
They meet up with Alejandro Cao de Benós, a native of Spain who because of his belief and love of communism ended up living in North Korea and is now one of the mouthpieces for the DPRK and Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un. Benós takes Longoria around the country, where Longoria is ‘allowed’ to speak to the locals who work at the museums. He’s also taken to the gym where Jong-un worked out (just once), and gets to speak to tour guides on the street. He’s even allowed into a Roman Catholic Church (where all the attendees happen to be very good singers).

We are shown North Korean life via Longoria’s camera: woman dancing in a pagoda, a wedding party taking photos of the bride and groom, children skateboarding and laughing – are these people really happy? North Korea is a country of 24 million people, yet has the fourth largest standing army in the world. They are armed with 20 nuclear warheads and have an increasing sophisticated missile defense system. And the country spends 16% of it’s GDP on the military. Yet the regime seeks to dominate every aspect of it’s citizens lives, and also terrorizes them from within. While they are given free housing, free education and free medical care, it is known that there is a severe food crisis, that some of it’s citizens are held in concentration camp-like prisons, and there is absolutely no freedom of expression or speech. It’s a Totalitarianism regime.

But the locals who speak to Longoria all have a mistrust and hatred for the United States. One official says ‘The U.S. tries to stifle and threaten our country.’
The documentary mentions the recent turmoil surrounding the film ‘The Interview’ where Seth Rogen and James Franco are sent on a mission to assassinate a Jong-un-like dictator – it almost led to a war. Longoria is also one of the very people to be taken to the Demilitarized Zone (which in theory it is not) – the line that separates North and South Korea. It’s fascinating to be able to see it and to see the intercut footage of Barack Obama on the South Side and Jong-Un on the North side during one of their separate visits in years past.

We are shown shiny new apartment buildings, new and expensive museums that are shrines to Jong Un and his late father Kim Jong-il (one that was empty on a Sunday), and huge statues and photos of both men in various parts of Pyongyang. Yet where does all the money come from to build this? How does North Korea’s economy work? ’The Propaganda Game’ raises more questions than what it answers. But it’s not at the fault of Longoria, it’s the mystery and secretiveness of a country where the children are practically brainwashed. It’s a fascinating documentary.
‘The Propaganda Game’ is now in UK cinemas and is now available to buy on DVD (See way below)


A young couple are in love in a rough Manchester neighborhood where drugs, crime and murder are rife, in the new VOD release ‘Lapse of Honour.’


Director and writer Rayna Campell has crafted a very British love story between two teenagers who have lots of obstacles thrown at them in the course of their relationship. It’s a story between Eve (Lady Leshurr) and Tom (Tom Collins). Eve finds herself pregnant and Tom promises to get a job to take care of her and the baby. But Eve has bigger ambitions; she’s determined to become a grime artist, but also wants to attend university. She lives with her miserable mother who doesn’t support Eve in anything she does. Meanwhile, Tom’s life isn’t much different. He lives with his alcoholic father who’s mixed up with a few local dodgy characters. When Tom takes the opportunity to make big money from one of these dodgy characters it’s a decision that has consequences not only for him, but also for Eve and his unborn baby.

‘Lapse of Honour’ is a well-made gritty urban drama by Campbell, who is also an actress known for her work in ‘Casualty’ and ‘Waterloo Road.’ The rest of the cast are no stranger to fame. Collins began his career in ‘Waterloo Road’ while Lady Leshurr is a MOBO-nominated music artist. It’s talent like them that makes this British film a very believable and hard-hitting film. It’s an auspicious debut for Campbell, who also produced the movie. Expect good things from her, both from in front of, and behind, the camera.

‘Lapse of Honour’ is now available on VOD


The Propaganda Game [DVD] (DVD)

Rating: Suitable for 12 years and over

New From: £9.46 GBP In Stock
Used from: £11.25 GBP In Stock