Talking Like Adam Curtis

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I can say that I have sat through the whole of HyperNormalisation. It is arduous viewing, putting it kindly. It’s extremely rich, some might say decadent. If Bitter Lake was a cornerstone, I suspect this film is the excess that followed from it. Everything about it is overdone. If you’ve followed Adam Curtis closely, you’ll note that the footage carries with it his obsessions from recent years. He was writing about Iran, Syria and Libya on his blog back going back five years. For more 15 years or more, Adam Curtis has been able to captivate mainstream audiences with his … Continue reading

JFK: The cultural impact of an assassination

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This year marks 25 years since the release of Oliver Stone’s JFK (1991), starring Kevin Costner and a flamboyant supporting cast including Tommy Lee Jones, Joe Pesci, Donald Sutherland and Sissy Spacek. The three hour-plus film reignited debate over the 1963 assassination of US president John Fitzgerald Kennedy. A quarter of a century on, that debate still festers. In addition to Stone’s fascinating (though hugely flawed) production, Kennedy’s murder has spawned countless books, films, television documentaries and websites, each devoted to solving the crime. Virtually all take a position on the shooting underpinned by one of two competing theories. On … Continue reading

Meeting Adam Curtis on Bitter Lake

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Most broadcasters – especially those who work at the BBC – must produce their programmes to conform to strict guidelines. They must be within five seconds of the required length, they must comply with a rigid format and they must meet the approval of layers of executives. There are a handful of prominent programme makers who are allowed to set their own guidelines. Alan Yentob (Imagine) is his own executive producer and allows himself the freedom to make his programmes as long as he thinks they should be. Stephen Poliakoff has spent much of his career not bothered by the … Continue reading