The word "propaganda" derives from the Congratio de Propaganda Fide (Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith), an organization established by Pope Gregory XV in 1622. Its original missionary denotation has been incorporated into modern dictionaries, where it is defined as the spreading of ideas, information, or rumor for the purpose of helping or injuring an institution, a cause, or a person. However, this rather neutral meaning has taken on, in common parlance, a more negative connotation, namely the assumption that disinformation, not information, is at its core.

Propagandistic messages have been a mainstay of films throughout the history of the medium. Mise-en-scène , editing, dialogue, voice-over narration, and music are some of the techniques that impart specific meaning. In short, the aesthetics of the cinema have long been used as powerful tools both to convey and to disguise overt and covert polemical proclamations.

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