The Power of Nightmares: The Rise of the Politics of Fear

Description:
Adam Curtis wrote and directed this three-part BBC documentary on the exploitation of fear for political ends during the war on terror. Curtis points to parallels in the rise of American neoconservatives and radical Islamists, and argues that the idea of al-Qaeda as a widespread, organized network of terrorists was one created by neo-cons to silence opposition to undemocratic policies.

Cinephile Interest:
A darling of film scholars and liberal critics, and a conspiracy theorist or worse to conservatives, it’s safe to say that Curtis is a filmmaker who elicits strong reactions. Compared to an actual conspiracy theory film like Zeitgeist (2007), Power of Nightmares is more sophisticated in its arguments and more playful with its imagery. While the voice-over narration makes one claim, the associated footage leaves open multiple meanings. “Are we looking for terrorists, or being looked at by terrorists?”

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