Watched this when it dropped. The ratio of informative to glib starts to skew towards the latter in the home stretch, but as usual with Curtis there's a lot here I didn't know. His style's getting more adventurous, which I'm all for, even if it leads to a bagginess that makes this feel as long as his 3-hour ones.
Beautifully creative film-making. Curtis finds the perfect visual metaphor for the 'narrative between narrative' simply by showing all the outtakes of interviews and camera repositioning that is usually left to the cutting room floor. It's a complex history lesson that is engrossing and disturbing. The only weak point, the quick wrap-up at the end that felt at odds with the visual breathing space prior. 4 stars
What is indisputable when it comes to Adam Curtis's work is that he has an obsessive eye for the power of images to reveal something disturbing within themselves. In BITTER LAKE he shows how Afghanistan hollows out the ideologies that have successively tried to reshape it. Throughout the film there is a fantastic use of repetitive imagery, that subtly alters as Curtis builds his argument - the dancing, for example.
Another entrancing and fascinating work by Adam Curtis. Contains some brilliant found/stock footage as always (an adult learning course in modern art teaching about Duchamp's urinal / the resigned expressions on the faces of Afghan's having their biometric data taken / the British soldiers trying in vain to agree terms in order to use a photocopier etc). Maybe a bit too similar to Power of Nightmares however.
So much information to take in on first viewing, felt like I should have had my notepad out so apart from it demanding a re-watch, I thought the use of stock footage was second to none and I liked the really ambient moments where you could just sit with everything (the bird and soldier scene for example) Highly recommend it
BBC documentary really doesn't get much better than this. Thanks to Adam Curtis' efforts an extraordinary haul of archive comes together to tell a story of politics and humanity that is definitely, more horrific, beautiful and strange than any fiction.