Watch: “American Carnage: The Films of Steve Bannon”
From 2004 to 2016, Steve Bannon directed nine feature-length documentaries. Bannon, who professes open admiration for the aesthetics of Leni Riefenstahl, believed for a time that his films, which bear dire titles like Battle for America, Fire From the Heartland and District of Corruption, would catapult him to prominence as the right-wing’s cinematic answer to Michael Moore. Diving into his oeuvre is not unlike experiencing the last decade’s-worth of popular political documentaries but through a conservative looking-glass.
Bannon’s films illustrate both his dangerously apocalyptic worldview, and provide an object lesson for probing the thin line between documentary and propaganda. They’re also near-unwatchable. But, they are texts worth encountering in order to get a fuller picture of the man who has so thoroughly upended our politics. American Carnage began its life as an article, published in the January/February 2017 issue of Film Comment, but we felt that writing about Bannon’s films wasn’t enough. So, enjoy a chance to watch selections from the Cinema of Steve Bannon; we’ve watched it all so that you don’t have to.