Tuesday, March 23, 2010

It felt like a kiss

When I first watched it I didn't know what to make of it. "It felt like a kiss" was originally an interactive "promenade-style" theatre production by filmmaker Adam Curtis. Though I haven't watched theatre production, I did watch the experimental documentary version. This was an interesting mix of images, music and history weaved to narrate a story. However, To call this a documentary is little bit of a stretch. Nevertheless it a peice of creative art, definetly worth a watch.

It attempts to explain how power really works in the world and how America came to be the way it is today, all powerful and dictating, obviously a loaded agenda. More subtly it tries to highlight how our own ideas are a function of the prevailing political and social thought at the time. Again, I wouldn't consider this serious documentary for the reason that it a set of visuals interpreted by a narrator with a predisposed message. A more objective documentary would represent both sides of a story, be factual and evaluative and reach its conclusions that way. The overall message is a little ambiguous as well.

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If you haven't heard of Adam Curtis, then you are missing out on the works of an excellent documentary filmmaker. One of my favorites. His works predominantly relate to society and politics of our time and how they came about. Three of his works stand out in my view

The Century of Self: Is about Freudian theories on human nature and how they were adapted by Edward Bernays to invent the field of PR. Documentary highlights that this was in turn widely used in modern and contemporary society to manipulate the masses for power, both in business and politics.

Power of Nightmares: Compares the radical Islamic movement to the rise of Neo-Conservatives and how fear, in its various ways, is used to mobilize the masses by a select group to fulfill their own vision of utopia.

The Trap: This one is a fascinating piece of work exploring the concepts of liberty and freedom in our society. The first part starts with concept of how dominant modern theories treat human as corrupt and selfish individuals with solutions ultimately aimed at acheving control. It brings in and explains Nash's cold war solution called "Fuck you buddy". Second part explores efforts by psychiatrist to define "normal" behavior and attempt to bring the masses to "standard acceptable behavior" and controlled responses. Third part explores the concept of positive and negative liberty and how governments attempt to use "liberty" as excuse for intervention ultimately leads to a trap of reducing civil liberties. I found this series very insightful and
informative and would highly recommend watching it.

You can watch all the three series for free on this website

In the age of Soaps and reality TV, I find these refreshing to watch. Hope you do too.

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