There is no narrator in this documentary, no talking heads, no experts, no direct analysis. The entirety of The Reagan Show consists of archival footage from network news and the machinery that manufactured the images of America’s 40th president. Ronald Reagan and his team changed the whole game of American politics by transforming the White House into a movie studio. These men understood that he wasn’t a president, but playing one in Hollywood. Without this understanding (make everything a movie), the new conservatives (or neoliberals) would not have finally and effectively defeated that five-decade truce between workers and capitalism called the New Deal. The Reagan revolution was indeed televised. The documentary also makes it clear that Donald Trump is a rank amateur and completely lacks Reagan’s art and discipline.

SIFF happens May 18-June 11. Check out showtimes for The Regan Show here; more recommended SIFF films here; and all SIFF films here.