Bitter Lake

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Last night I watched the new documentary by Adam Curtis: Bitter Lake and I very highly reccomend it, both for the unique & experimental form of documentary film making Curtis employs and as a profoundly disturbing history of the Middle East & the repeated attempts at manipulation by the West.
If you’ve seen American Sniper then consider this documentary to be essential viewing for global & historical context ie the 100 year back story! Here’s the trailer:

If you have never seen a documentary by Adam Curtis then you are in for a treat – his use of Burials music in the opening montage of Bitter Lake is both surreal & haunting, but his tangential use of archival footage combined with score is fascinating & at times profoundly unsettling…

I also highly reccomend his earlier documentary Century of the Self which provides a history of mass manipulation for commercial purposes, and it is full of laugh out loud examples which would be funnier if they weren’t actually true. For example there is a scene in the section ENGINEERING CONSENT where they discuss how the first attempt at marketing Better Crockers instant pudding failed. At launch the instant cake mix just didn’t sell and after doing focus groups with consumers they discovered the target market (i.e. housewives) felt guilty about it being too easy… So the marketing theorists suggested a psychological solution: ‘Just add an egg’ – the guilt was assuaged & the product become hugely popular. Did the egg need to be added? Not for cooking purposes… While this might seem a banal & almost ridiculous example, how & why this solution occurred is just the start… The section about that egg starts at 1’50” in this excerpt:

ps The BBC iPlayer stream of Bitter Lake worked fine for me with no VPN or other malarky, but I hear people use the Zenmate plugin to access such geo-locked streams… Bitter Lake is available on the BBC iPlayer for the next 3 weeks…


update: theres a full copy on Youtube here – not sure how legit or how long it will be there


One Response to Bitter Lake

  1. Larry Elliott says:

    Thanks for the info about Bitter Lake – watched it this afternoon. Thanks also for the link to Zen Mate which enabled me to use BBC iPlayer for the first time.

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