The first and last time I ever saw Stephen Bannon was last May at the Cannes Film Festival, where his film Clinton Cash was screening for overseas buyers.

The documentary, a strategically timed takedown of Hillary Clinton centring on her alleged ethical lapses and dubious financial dealings, was based on Peter Schweizer's 2015 book of the same name.

While I interviewed Schweizer in an empty ballroom of a Croisette hotel, Bannon - who wrote and produced Clinton Cash - paced outside, occasionally stealing a furtive glance our way through an open door.

I was familiar with Bannon's work as a filmmaker, having reviewed his 2011 documentary, The Undefeated, about Sarah Palin. So when he joined Donald Trump's campaign last year, and later assumed duties as the President's chief strategist, his worldview wasn't completely unknown to me.


The former Navy officer and Goldman Sachs banker entered the movie business on the money side, executive producing such highly regarded feature films as The Indian Runner and Titus.

In 2004, he began producing, writing and sometimes directing his own movies, starting with In the Face of Evil: Reagan's War in Word and Deed, an admiring portrait of Ronald Reagan; since then, he's produced films about illegal immigration (Cochise County USA: Cries from the Border, Border War: The Battle Over Illegal Immigration), the roots of the global economic crisis (Generation Zero), a nefariously overreaching federal government (Battle for America ) and conservative women (Fire From the Heartland), among others.

Although Bannon has produced the occasional fiction feature, most of his creative energy has gone into making nonfiction agitprop designed to whip viewers into a froth of either adulation or rage, but always into passionate political action.

His most recent film, Torchbearer, features Duck Dynasty patriarch Phil Robertson delivering an hour-long sermon about the existential necessity of a Judeo-Christian republic, his long grey beard and booming voice lending Old Testament gravitas to the oratory.

In the 2012 film Occupy Unmasked, the late Andrew Breitbart - whose website, Breitbart News, Bannon took over that year - debunks the Occupy Wall Street movement as the cynical product of an organised Left "hellbent on the nihilistic destruction of everything the American people care for".

In the 2012 documentary District of Corruption, about the conservative watchdog group and longtime Clinton antagonists Judicial Watch, the filmmaker doesn't exempt George W Bush from scrutiny, recounting such controversies as the Jack Abramoff scandal, Dick Cheney's closed-door energy task force and the special treatment of bin Laden and Saudi royal family members immediately after September 11, 2001.

Still, most of District of Corruption is spent attacking Barack Obama for voting irregularities, lack of transparency, executive overreach and filling high-ranking positions with big-money donors.

Interestingly, Trump himself now stands accused of those very same transgressions, as well as foreign and financial entanglements that have already prompted a clutch of lawsuits.

At Cannes last May, when Schweizer insisted that his real target wasn't the Clintons but the "apparatus which allows foreign money to influence American political figures", he vowed that if Trump won the election, he would investigate him just as energetically.

If he makes good on his promise, odds are good that the film he makes won't be a Bannon production.