Lately, I’ve been watching Adam Curtis’ essay films. I highly recommend them. Here are links to his newest 3-part series “All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace”. Enjoy!
They are each an hour long. I personally enjoyed the third episode best but they are all good.
I can provide a better link! :)
He’s a very interesting film-maker! I’ve only seen The Power of Nightmares and All Watched Over By Machines of Loving Grace. I’m actually planning on watching The Century of the Self later tonight.
There’s always plenty of ideas put out in a short time span during his works and they’re very easy to take. He’s dug up some amazing footage also, such as the Pong footage in Part 1 of “All Watched Over[…]”.
The Power of Nightmares was excellent! It gets to the heart of so much media mythologising behind the war of terror. Banned in the USA i understand- no great surprise there.
It’s available on Netflix, that’s how I saw it.
From the Wikipedia page I gather that it simply was never aired on US TV, not banned from the US.
Please don’t confuse Kenji with the facts.
Btw, Banned films wiki
The United States has no federal agency charged with either permitting or restricting the exhibition of motion pictures. Most instances of films being banned are via ordinances or proclamations by city or state governments. Some are instances of films being judicially found to be of an obscene nature and subject to specific laws against such material (i.e. child pornography). Such findings are usually only legally binding in the jurisdiction of the court making such a ruling.
I rate Curtis as one of the great documentary film-makers of our age – certainly as on a par with Ken Burns, Errol Morris and Frederick Wiseman, and not far off the standard of Chris Marker. All of his films are worth seeing, most are excellent and ‘The Century of the Self’ is, I believe, a masterpiece.
However, I think Curtis just falls short of the greatness of Marker due to the question-marks hanging over some of the claims that he makes (especially in ‘The Power of Nightmares’). He has a tendency to stray towards conspiracy theory and to make some quite outlandish claims. Now, he may well be correct in his assertions, but there is still an element of subjectivity and a feeling of agenda that can make some of his work hard to swallow and difficult to appreciate as art.
Chris Marker, by contrast, is somewhat more passive in his politically motivated works (‘Dimanche a Pekin’, ‘Lettre de Siberie’, ‘Si J’avais Quatre Dromedaires’) which, in spite of some Marxist undertones, give these films a relative sense of objectiveness as he allows his observations to speak for themselves. I still see both men as artist’s and auteur’s, but I view Marker as the greater master.
I did an edit altering my phrasing on banning/not being shown before replies, but i see for some reason it didn’t take. In any event, the lack of airtime says a lot. It’s pretty essential viewing.
I’m looking forward to The Power of Nightmares. I find conspiracy theory and outlandish claims entertaining.
The cinematic trick is to avoid a feeling of contrivance, if one wants to give a ‘feeling’ of truth.
If one wants to be thoroughly entertaining, almost comedic, then obvious contrivance is the correct element.
“Conspiracy theory” is a term applied by the establishment to undermine the credibility of opponents, creating straw man links with extreme and silly ideas, whereas of course there have been countless genuine conspiracies, and many involving governments- Nixon, the Holocaust, lies over Iraq etc etc…. The 9/11 official version(s) is also a conspiracy theory.
Yes, that is a value judgment the establishment wants you to make. The fact is, many of these theories are silly, like that put forth in The Ghost Writer or the 9/11 official version conspiracy theory.
Silly, fact-less stuff, making connections where there are none – apophenia.
In what way was the Holocaust a conspiracy?
Social conditioning, unthinking respect for authority, clinging to comforting illusions rather than face or accept evidence or facts, while ridiculing opponents as paranoid loonies. Someone gets arrested or has some public claim made against them and the immediate mass response is usually an assumption of guilt. Many blindly support their country’s wars irrespective of right, wrong and outcomes, while most people in various countries will fatally eletrocute someone simply on the orders of a stranger in a white coat.
The Power of Nightmares shows how extreme Islam and extreme neo-Cons have played on and needed the other. The media in various Western countries, as evidenced by the practical censorship on US networks of Curtis’ film, has been subservient and shamefully cowed, especially since 9/11.
Because it reads as though you’re suggesting it didn’t happen.
The need of ‘paranoid loonies’ (your term) to believe world events can be controlled by a few through conspiracy is the result of this: Social conditioning, unthinking respect for authority, clinging to comforting illusions
It is specifically the result of a childhood belief where a parent controls everything in the child’s world. Taken into adulthood a group of parents controls everything. This is not an infantile centric belief, but unbalanced and childish nonetheless.
the practical censorship on US networks of Curtis’ film,
Uh, have there been better things and more insightful things broadcast by PBS’s Frontline?
Is it the format that is the problem? the outlandish unsubstantiated claims?
Curtis doesn’t deal with ‘conspiracy theories’ as much as some make out. Everything he said about the Neoconservatives was fact, backed up by the Neocons themselves. The corruption that caused the financial crisis is also fact. And the aims of revolutionary Islamism.
Okay, just moved it up in queue, although I do enjoy conspiracy theory and outlandish claims.
Ben, i’m suggesting that there was not sufficient willingness to believe in (or, if believing, publicise) the holocaust- what was really happening inside concentration camps- an event involving millions, not a small number. Even the Allies were dubious when prisoners who had escaped recounted their experience. There is still too much readiness, in the US and elsewhere, to give authorities, politicians and governments, for all their lies, the benefit of the doubt over the things they are capable of. The US used to conduct experiments on its own people, and there have been many examples of hidden projects coming to light later. The holocaust was a massive conspiracy made reality by the Nazi regime, yet so often the media and establishment ridicule people for suggesting govt conspiracies on a lesser scale.
thanks for the link, daniel vincent!
Conspiracy: an evil, unlawful, treacherous, or surreptitious plan formulated in secret by two or more persons; a plot; a combination of persons for a secret, unlawful, or evil purpose, or sinister design
Outlandish: conspicuously unconventional; bizarre; strikingly unfamiliar; grotesquely odd or strange.
Conspiracies happen throughout the world on a more than daily basis. What may seem odd or strange to narrow minds often turns out to be true. The earth revolves round the sun. The earth is round. “Duck billed” platypuses exist
Ok, thanks for clarifying. I’m just aware that Holocaust denial is part and parcel of certain strands of conspiracy theorising and therefore referring to the Holocaust as a “conspiracy” can sound alarm-bells in readers, such as myself, who are sensitive to any hint of anti-Semitism.
Yes, that’s the trouble with the very word “conspiracy” having been distorted to suit the establishment, and of course if any holocaust deniers are found supporting a “conspiracy theory” then that theory is easily rubbished as the idea of dangerous extremists or loonies. Of course there are also holocaust deniers and loonies who support governments in opposing certain “conspiracy theories”
Thanks Daniel for the link.
Don’t know if mofo speaks the truth in his films… don’t much care as I find the unfettered truth unatainable anyway. I’m certainly not going to go on a fact finding mission. However, I think Adam’s use of unique, sometimes banal footage, retro synth musicical cues and smart writing really make me frightened and inspired at the same time.
“In what way was the Holocaust a conspiracy?”
The Holocaust was a conspiracy in the legal sense, a group of people got togheter in a meeting (the Wannsee Conference) and put togheter a plan to commit a crime (genocide).
There has been at least two feature films made about the event.
Yes, thank you Francisco, I was already aware of this. I have been studying the Holocaust for some time and have seen at least one of the films you refer to. I was just seeking clarification of Kenji’s definition of the Holocaust as “conspiracy” which, as explained, can be taken a couple different ways.
Yeah I’ve been watching the series, interesting
^ LOL! ^
Same brand of undergraduate reductive humour as this:
The parody was quite well done actually. The guy who did it said he was a fan of Curtis, and I think that Curtis himself would see the funny side.