“We live in a time of great uncertainty and confusion.” So begin the familiar tones of Adam Curtis.
I have a new film going up on iPlayer this Sunday – the 16th [October 2016]. Here’s a background to what the film is about. And a trail.
We live in a time of great uncertainty and confusion. Events keep happening that seem inexplicable and out of control. Donald Trump, Brexit, the War in Syria, the endless migrant crisis, random bomb attacks. And those who are supposed to be in power are paralysed – they have no idea what to do.
This film is the epic story of how we got to this strange place. It explains not only why these chaotic events are happening – but also why we, and our politicians, cannot understand them.
It shows that what has happened is that all of us in the West – not just the politicians and the journalists and the experts, but we ourselves – have retreated into a simplified, and often completely fake version of the world. But because it is all around us we accept it as normal.
The film has been made specially for iplayer – and is a giant narrative spanning forty years, with an extraordinary cast of characters. They include the Assad dynasty, Donald Trump, Henry Kissinger, Patti Smith, the early performance artists in New York, President Putin, intelligent machines, Japanese gangsters, suicide bombers – and the extraordinary untold story of the rise, fall, rise again, and finally the assassination of Colonel Gaddafi.
All these stories are woven together to show how today’s fake and hollow world was created. Part of it was done by those in power – politicians, financiers and technological utopians. Rather than face up to the real complexities of the world, they retreated. And instead constructed a simpler version of the world in order to hang onto power
But it wasn’t just those in power. This strange world was built by all of us. We all went along with it because the simplicity was reassuring. And that included the left and the radicals who thought they were attacking the system. The film shows how they too retreated into this make-believe world – which is why their opposition today has no effect, and nothing ever changes.
But there is another world outside. And the film shows dramatically how it is beginning to pierce through into our simplified bubble. Forces that politicians tried to forget and bury forty years ago – that were then left to fester and mutate – but which are now turning on us with a vengeful fury.
Continue to Adam’s BBC blog to watch the HyperNormalisation trailer.