Sunday, May 16, 2010

The Films of Adam Curtis

watching a film by adam curtis is what i wish high school history class would have been. a roughly chronological narrative supplemented by contemporary images and good music, slanted by the 'teachers' bent, but unambiguously so. curtis' talent for editing as well as his penchant for perusing hours upon hours of archival footage emerging with brilliant gems of last the century's most influential figures at their most vulnerable are remarkable. his critics call him a propagandist. tho i believe this is true i dont find it to be objectionable. i find in curtis no pretense toward a kind of broad 'academic' objectivity, rather his work seems to be deeply grounded in a philosophy and interpretation of history entirely his own. i like this because curtis' obvious personal bent, by virtue of its presence within the work, creates a space for the viewer's position to emerge and allows for a sort of discourse/dialectic to take place (inasmuch as that is possible while 'taking in' a film). I think for this same reason i enjoy listening to xxxtream AM radio or watching strange internet videos of alieunz-conspiritors-theorizers talk about the next ascension of humanity, tho curtis is far from one of 'those' and the discussions are much more civil and fruitful(?). Here are the first parts of three of his films made for the bbc.

2002's The Century of the Self

2004's The Power of Nightmares

2007's The Trap

besides the free lessons in history the visuals of these films are stunning and worthy of watching with the mute button on.

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