Cinefamily deserves respect and support for tributing the great Adam Curtis, the British political documentarian and journalist whose brilliant, highly essential essays, particularly The Century of the Self, The Power of Nightmares, All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace and Bitter Lake, have been praised and praised again in this space.
Next weekend’s Curtis tribute (3.17 thru 3.19) is mainly about premiering Curtis’s HyperNormalisation, which has actually been streaming on YouTube since last October. Over the weekend Curtis will explain, expound and connect the dots on everything he knows and believes — everything within his own perceptual, philosophical, found-footage universe.
Curtis’s docs are brilliant, on-target and laser-focused, but they all say the same thing, which is that the wool has been pulled — is being pulled — over our eyes, and most of us don’t even realize it.
In Curtis’s view the last era in which society truly breathed and dreamt and reached for the stars was the late ’60s and early ’70s, but beginning in the mid ’70s (or around the time of Michelangelo Antonioni‘s ultra-prescient The Passenger, which will be discussed during a Curtis seminar next weekend) increasingly powerful corporate forces have been subjugating and controlling more and more.
“The term ‘hypernormalisation’ is taken from Alexei Yurchak‘s 2006 book ‘Everything Was Forever, Until it was No More: The Last Soviet Generation,’ about the paradoxes of life in the Soviet Union during the 20 years before it collapsed.
“Yurchak asserts that everyone knew the system was failing, but as no one could imagine any alternative to the status quo, politicians and citizens were resigned to maintaining a pretence of a functioning society. Over time, this delusion became a self-fulfilling prophecy and the ‘fakeness’ was accepted by everyone as real, an effect that Yurchak called ‘hypernormalisation’.