Where to start with Adam Curtis

new-adam-curtis-documentary-hypernormalisation

A friend asked me where they should start with Adam Curtis. It’s a good question. Curtis has been making films since the early 1980s and really came into his own in the 1990s and 2000s. His latest films Bitter Lake (2015) and HyperNormalisation (2016) constitute a break with the past insofar as he has taken his style to its end. What follows next may be a great decline, or it could be a radical new phase in his work. But let’s get back to the question. The latest films may be hard-going for newcomers to the Curtis style. So I’m going to list my … Continue reading

Europe’s Alpha & Omega

Chancellor Angela Merkel faces three regional elections in the German states of Saxony-Anhalt, Baden-Weurttemberg and Rhineland-Palatinate that are being described, by various observers, commentators and news outlets, as a ‘test of support’ for the Chancellor’s stance on the refugee crisis. ‘Test’ is one way to describe the process, I suppose. Whilst frau Merkel might wish it to be otherwise, the sudden rise of the anti-establishment and populist AfD (Alternative für Deutschland), which is presenting its regional campaigns as a national referendum on Germany’s open-door response to the crisis and which is polling well above the 7.1% of the vote it … Continue reading

Is Africa’s success story over?

The most impressive person I met in Botswana barely said a word. She was an older woman, small in stature. We were sitting next to each other at a table during lunch at a conference about Botswana’s economic model. In a quiet voice, she told me that she was a former government minister. We talked briefly about the conference, neither of us saying anything particularly memorable. Then we were both drawn away by other conversations. I learned later that Gaositwe Chiepe was the first woman to serve as a government minister in Botswana, the large but sparsely populated country just … Continue reading