TIFF Docs

Politics, Instructions Manual

Fernando León de Aranoa

A fascinating behind-the-scenes documentary about the rise of Podemos, the insurgent Spanish political party founded on the basis of a nationwide anti-austerity movement that dramatically upended the country’s traditional, hidebound two-party system.

How do you start a political party? How do you build that party and communicate its vision in order to engage the populace? And how do you manage to do this in one year? Fernando León de Aranoa's documentary Politics, Instructions Manual raises these questions and proposes some inspiring answers via an in-depth, intimate view of Spain's ascendant Podemos party.

The 15M anti-austerity movement, with its growing number and frequency of political demonstrations, began in 2011 as a response to the deep economic and social crisis facing Spain. The governing party goaded the protesters, stating that if they were unhappy with the current state of affairs, they should "organize a party and run for office" — so a group of activists, university professors, and professionals took up the challenge. Founded in 2014, and led by political scientists Pablo Iglesias and Íñigo Errejón, Podemos is a political and social phenomenon, a movement that in only a year managed to upend Spain's traditional two-party system.

León de Aranoa's film offers exclusive access to the party's mechanics, including behind-the-scenes communication strategy meetings, election campaign preparations, and moments of deep disagreement within the party. The ecstasy of success contrasts with disgruntlement and impasse as the party faces the dilemmas inherent in playing the game of politics.

Following a dramatic arc that seems to be made for cinema, Politics, Instructions Manual presents the spirit of Podemos and the eloquent, thoughtful people behind it, offering a much-needed alternative to the party politics plaguing Spain's system.

DIANA SANCHEZ

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location_on Scotiabank 3

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