Email quoted below.
Description of video below the cut, in case you want to watch without the translation first.
I would like to treat you today to a little film created by the Ministry of National Resources to encourage young Hungarians to stay at home where they belong instead of going abroad where they have a chance at earning a liveable wage. It is in Hungarian, but there aren't many words and I'll describe it below. Translations of spoken words will be in quotation marks.
A rollercoaster ride. "A story" A boy comes into the library and sits down. He drops a book and then picks it up again. "About a boy." The boy looks up from his book, glances to the right, smiles furtively, and then looks back at his book. The camera angle changes to show that he was looking at a girl who is seated at another table in the library. "and about a girl". She smiles, looking at him, while continuing to write her notes.
The boy stands outside of a restaurant and peers in at the girl, who is working as a waitress. Later, she closes up shop and he's standing there like a stalker, smiling and starts to talk to her (no audio). He gives her some tulips. She smiles, and feminists around the world headdesk (not shown). He invites her to go with him somewhere. They go to a café of some sort and are shown smiling and talking avidly over beer.
"About love." They stand on a bridge and the boy throws something into the water. Then they kiss in the sunset.
"About home." They sleep together in a hammock in a one room apartment. They draw a large Christmas tree with markers on some paper. They get a dog from an animal shelter. They attach two leashes to the dog and run through a park with the dog. She comes into the bathroom while he's shaving, takes a little shaving cream off his cheek with her fingertip and wipes it on his nose.
"About every day life" She stands beside a bicycle. He stands at a bus stop. They sit in a tent at a beach. They run to catch a train and miss it. He sees a notice about great opportunities to work abroad in Great Britain. The girl comes up and they look at it together. He takes one of the slips of paper that have a phone number to call. He meets with someone to talk about it, everyone wearing suits and they shake hands.
"About family" They go to his parents' house and they hug. Then they take the dog to her father's house and he gives her a hug. He and his father say goodbye to each other.
"About parties" The lights of the disco flicker. The girl and the boy drink shots. She throws up in an graffiti-covered alleyway and he holds her hair.
"About drama" The boy and the girl yell at each other. He leaves the apartment.
"A story about reality" He walks down the street. She cries. They dance in autumn leaves. He puts his jacket on after shaving. They go down the rollercoaster. They kiss in the autumn leaves some more. They stand in the park holding each other. He offers her a ring.
"New generation. Everything ties us to our home."
If you follow the link to youtube, you'll see everyone's disliked it. If there's a takeaway beyond "stay in Hungary, because if you go abroad you'll miss how you used to get really drunk and puke in alleyways back home" no one's sure what it is.
(This is Ana again.) What I would like to ask, because my friend asked me, is: what is the take-away supposed to be here? How is this propaganda video supposed to affect the viewer?
I think it's meant to be nostalgic and play on the fear of the unknown and the love of the familiar. The colors of the trees are so vibrant and the pretty dog is so pretty. The girl and the boy speak the same language, and share a heritage together, and isn't that a huge part of romance for many of us? Their parents are nearby.
The marginalization the couple experiences in poverty is seen as romantic, and character-building. They can't buy a bed, so they share a hammock! They can't afford a nice holiday, but they sit together in the rain! They can't afford books, but they Meet Cute in the library! They can't afford a Christmas tree, so they color on a piece of butcher paper! Isn't it sweet? Doesn't it make for a great story to tell the children? Isn't it bursting with national pride and the sweet smell of bootstraps?
Well, that's my take on it, anyway. And... it's kind of an effective ad for all that. I've been pretty poor (by American standards) and had to sleep on a bare second-hand mattress on the floor and forgo Christmas trees, too, and I know it's no picnic, but darned if I don't want the pretty red tree and the pretty furry dog and the pretty sweet girl and the pretty plucky apartment. I mean, I don't really because I know it's not all peaches and cream like that, but I think the fantasy is compelling.
What does this video mean to you? What fantasies and fears do you perceive in it? How does fantasy play a role in propaganda, and how do we call it out as emotional manipulation?