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Thread: Adam Curtis

  1. #1
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    Default Adam Curtis

    Hope all you in the UK watched the first parts of Curtis' new doco 'All Watched Over By Machines of Loving Grace' last night (whilst I had to labour for about 3 hours to get proxy server shite working so I could watch it on BBC iPlayer).

    I assume there are Adam Curtis fans here?

    Viewing all of his documentaries, most of which can be found here http://thoughtmaybe.com/browse/video/adam-curtis and reading virtually the entire contents of his blog at http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/adamcurtis/ has changed my view of power and human relations immeasurably. He is certainly has one of the finest political minds of our times, and added to that has a most unique and beautiful aesthetic, and a completely original technique.

    So, for those who did watch it: Discuss.
    Last edited by rob_giri; 26-05-2011 at 08:12 PM.

  2. #2
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    Well, he's an arresting editor and (this goes hand-in-hand) a master propagandist, but "finest political mind of our times" is a bit much.

    Is this new documentary the one in which Ayn Rand is the new Great Satan in place of Leo Strauss? (Leo Strauss is just so Noughties, darling.)

  4. #4

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    We actually had a really funny brawl about Adam Curtis back in the day -- not one of the ones you linked to, sadly.

  5. #5
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    I agree 'finest political mind' was a bit of hyperbole. I just think his combination of research, distilled theory and then his ability to present it all as a coherent narrative is completely unparalleled. Totally, totally ballsy. Or maybe I'm just naive.

  6. #6
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    Really enjoyed that show last night and really enjoyed stuff I have seen by him before. Of course its a very narrow minded view point but I still learn a lot even if you have to obviously have to remember its a very narrow view.

  7. #7

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    From what I recall, his caricature of Leo Strauss was big Popcorn balls. We had a big dumb row about it here and then we all went off and did a bit of reading and came back and had a slightly more articulate row about exactly the same thing -- so if anything Mr. Curtis spurred a little more effort on our part.

  8. #8
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    Started watching it late last night but was too knackered - I'll watch the rest today. I recently watched all of Century of the Self; compelling and thought-provoking, although conspiratorial as hell. Such a great visual style. I also like the way you never see his face, even when he's interviewing people. He's definitely my favourite documentaryist (is that a word?) along with Jonathon Meades (and Chris Morris, if he counts ).
    Doin' the Lambeth Warp New: DISSENSUS - THE NOVEL - PM me your email address and I'll add you

  9. #9
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    Love his stuff but I'd agree that he's more of a propagandist than anything else. By the end you're normally so blinded by amazing combinations of imagery and music that you don't notice the occasional cracks in the narrative he's advanced. Gonna hopefully watch the new one on Iplayer today and I'm really looking forward to it regardless of all that.

  10. #10
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    even if it's a whole bunch of bollocks it's really really really engaging. it's the type of thing that makes you feel intelligent when you watch it. like reading a david foster wallace book. you know it's classy.

  11. #11

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    Adam Curtis is one of my favourite film makers, his use of old archive footage is wonderful - but I treat all his works as theory-fiction or mythopoeisthesizing conspiracy narrative or summat - to me they are a million miles away from documentation - which should be impartial and merely present all facts devoid.... - Curtis sets up a finely honed political/philosophical context through presenting a myriad of carefully chosen stories told through loaded imagery. The effect is amazing, I adore his work.

    All Watched Over By Machines of Loving Grace - the crunchiest gear change for me ( aside from the timeline disruption ) was the leap my made from Alan Greenspans peripheral role in Ayn Rands vicious objectivism, the ping pong game + silicon valley context of Rands ideas and then Greenspans future career within the economic world..... the direct connection between objectivism and the markets felt ill-conjured to me, sure Rand inspired loads in Silicon Valley and readings of cyberspace cultures, and computers were bound to be used by bankers ( who wouldn't use the latest tech? ) - but the direct connection betwixt Randian objectivism and the bankers belief of the markets regulating themselves..... agh, not quite - this could've just been economic theory developing around computers right??? Maybe there are some good texts out there that'd put me wrong?

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    Just watched it. Liked that some of Burial's music was used.

  13. #13
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    Pandora's Box is the best for me, the titles on their own are amazing

  14. #14
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    Just watching the new one now - the collective 'Pong' game is wonderful.

    Edit: so many great little moments in the footage, like the slow-mo shot of Monica L making big lovey eyes at Clinton...

    Agreed with those saying this is nothing like objective (or Objectivist!) documentation, rather superbly persuasive propaganda.
    Last edited by Mr. Tea; 24-05-2011 at 10:35 PM.
    Doin' the Lambeth Warp New: DISSENSUS - THE NOVEL - PM me your email address and I'll add you

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by you View Post
    Adam Curtis is one of my favourite film makers, his use of old archive footage is wonderful - but I treat all his works as theory-fiction or mythopoeisthesizing conspiracy narrative or summat - to me they are a million miles away from documentation - which should be impartial and merely present all facts devoid.... - Curtis sets up a finely honed political/philosophical context through presenting a myriad of carefully chosen stories told through loaded imagery. The effect is amazing, I adore his work.
    This is spot on – even that word I've never heard of and have no idea what it means – it's all beautifully done but it's more like background music than serious analysis.

    I haven't watched last night's yet - Twistter consensus, even from fans, seemed to be that it was a little too conspiratorial...

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