Can't Get You Out of My Head
An Emotional History of the Modern World by Adam Curtis
February 13th, 2021
Via The Guardian: "Examining the power structures and political intrigue that have shaped our world, the filmmaker’s new BBC documentary series is a dense, ambitious triumph. [...]
The power dynamic, how it shifts, how it hides and how it is used to shape our world – the world in which we ordinary people must live – is Curtis’s great interest. He ranges from the literal rewriting of history by Chairman Mao’s formidable fourth wife, Jiang Qing, during the Cultural Revolution to the psychologists plumbing the depths of “the self” and trying to impose behaviours on drugged and electro-shocked subjects. He moves from the infiltration of the Black Panthers by undercover officers inciting and facilitating more violence than the movement had ever planned or been able to carry out alone, to the death of paternalism in industry and its replacement by official legislation drafted by those with hidden and vested interests. The idea that we are indeed living, as posited by various figures in the author’s landscape and (we infer from the whole) the author himself, in a world made up of strata of artifice laid down by those more or less malevolently in charge becomes increasingly persuasive.
Whether you are convinced or not by the working hypothesis, Can’t Get You Out of My Head is a rush. It is vanishingly rare to be confronted by work so dense, so widely searching and ambitious in scope, so intelligent and respectful of the audience’s intelligence, too. It is rare, also, to watch a project over which one person has evidently been given complete creative freedom and control without any sense of self-indulgence creeping in. It is always exciting to be in receipt of the product of a single vision. Not quite singular, perhaps: I suspect a lot of men born, like Curtis, in the 1950s, harbour many of the same concerns and would make a lot of the same arguments, although most would lack the ability to enshrine them so accessibly or attractively. But nevertheless, a triumph. For Curtis, of course, but also for publicly funded broadcasting. No commercial channel would have touched this thing. Unless, of course, that’s just what Auntie wants us to think."
Watch it here: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, and Part 6.
On top of it Can’t Get You Out of My Head features music by fabulous composer Natalie Beridze.