HyperNormalisation, 2016, Adam Curtis


A film by Adam Curtis. GB, 2016, DCP, color, 166 min. English

Until he strikes with a new work (he currently has two in the making), HyperNormalisation remains magnum opus of British film essayist/agitator Adam Curtis, who has devoted his entire career to digging through the deepest, most obscure corners of the enormous BBC archives, and constructing complex patterns of visual thought with an almost impossible ambition. Adam Curtis would like to make sense of the world. His method of making sense: uncovering hidden structures of powers that run the society by making (always clever and often outrageous) connections between audiovisual evidence that were hiding in plain sight. In HyperNormalisation, Curtis embraces the theories of anthropologist Alexei Yurchak, who used this word to describe life in Soviet Union, a society that, according to Yurchak, was fully aware of its failings, yet it maintained an illusion that everything is in perfect order. Curtis transplants this self-delusion to the Western hemisphere, and assigns corporate capitalism the role that central planning played in Yurchak's thinking. What emerges is a frightening image of a sedated society that makes both The Matrix and "The Society of the Spectacle" seem optimistic by comparison. Curtis is possessed by an almost uncanny ability to employ the power (and the poetics) of montage to his ideological service, and the results are thoroughly convincing. Legend goes that the notorious political strategist Steve Bannon carefully studied films by Adam Curtis in order to construct his own versions of visual persuasion on the other side of political spectrum. (Jurij Meden)

Free admission for supporting members on October 23