I’d throw in a free hand job just to have you watch anything by Adam Curtis, a history buff and media critic, with a platinum access card to all of BBC’s news and film archives. This man has some interesting and original views, which he writes long expository essays on. Then he reinforces his point by trolling through century old historic footage, adding voiceovers in an authoritative BBC tone. This style is like 90's electronica sampling 80's hip hop, but with video.
This is a very different from your usual in-the-trenches type of documentary.
Since Curtis relies on a large body of historic footage, he is able to give you the big picture, with a lot of small sub stories. Some of these are astounding.
In part 1 of Century of the Self he explains how Freud’s theories on psychoanalysis were used by his nephew Edward Bernays to control
In 1910, cigarette smoking was a very male thing. It was taboo for women to smoke openly, it was something they just didn’t do. American tobacco companies had approached Bernays to do something about that, because they only way they could increase their market share was to make the pie bigger.
So on the carnival day, when the entire city of
When you think of the right sounding but wrong doing powers that control the world today, with slogans like War on Terror, and War on Drugs, it’s just another spin job, owing some degree of credit to Edward Bernays.
The bigger story in all of this is how the fulfilment of personal needs becomes the highest ideal, with corporations growing ever powerful by arousing first, and then consummating the individual’s desires. How this gives rise to the Me generation, which didn't reject materialism, but instead asked for more customisable options. People grew so self important that they defined themselves by what they consumed.. These gradual changes in psyche changed attitudes in sectors as varied as marketing and politics.
The Power of Nightmares explains how politicians seized control from an increasingly irate and liberal public by feeding their fears. The documentary shows the rise of Neocons and Islamic fundamentalists, and how the two forces grew in power by creating nightmare visions of evils that can take over the world.
One of the best stories in this documentary is how American media hyped up al-Qaeda to be this elite cadre of operatives with secret underground lairs in the hills of
Pandora’s Box is a view of the effects of scientific and intellectual arrogance, and some of the bigger miscalculations people of science and power made. All the six episodes have a similar theme: grandiose dreams, soon giving way to harsh and grounded truths.
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And torrents are always available.