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’.
“Syria’s Abu Musab al-Suri has argued that terrorists should not carry out large-scale attacks such as Osama Bin Laden did, but random small-scale attacks throughout the West to create fear and chaos, which would be more difficult to retaliate against. This destabilization of the West’s psyche leads to the passing of Brexit and the popularity of Donald Trump.” — From HyperNormalisation Wikipage.
“Manipulated and Fake,” posted on 1.10.17:
“When we are angry, we click more. And clicks feed the ever-growing power and wealth of the corporations that run social media. We think we are expressing ourselves, but really we are just components in their system. At the moment, that system absorbs all opposition, Which is why nothing ever changes.” — from Adam Curtis‘s Hypernormalization, a 2016 BBC documentary that popped on 10.16.16 16 on the BBC iPlayer.
Curtis’s basic thesis (per Wiki page) is that “since the 1970s, governments, financiers, and technological utopians have given up on the complex ‘real world’ and built a simple ‘fake world’ that is run by corporations and kept stable by politicians.”
In other words, we’re living in a much more Orwellian big-brother realm than most of us realize.