"The documentary is inspired by the unpredictable events of recent times – from the rise of Donald Trump to Brexit, the war in Syria, the endless migrant crisis, and random bomb attacks. It seeks to explain both why these chaotic events are happening, and why we and our leaders can't understand them. Curtis's theory is that Westerners - politicians, journalists, experts and members of the public alike - have retreated into a simplified, and often completely fake version of the world. But because it is all-encompassing, we accept it as normal.
HyperNormalisation explores this hollow world by looking back at 40 years of events, and profiling a diverse cast of characters such as: the Assad dynasty, Donald Trump, Henry Kissinger, Patti Smith, the early performance artists in New York, President Putin, intelligent machines, Japanese gangsters and suicide bombers."
(Holly Barrett, 22nd September 2016, Royal Television Society)
"Individual freedom is the dream of our age. It's what our leaders promise to give us, it defines how we think of ourselves and, repeatedly, we have gone to war to impose freedom around the world. But if you step back and look at what freedom actually means for us today, it's a strange and limited kind of freedom.
Politicians promised to liberate us from the old dead hand of bureaucracy, but they have created an evermore controlling system of social management, driven by targets and numbers. Governments committed to freedom of choice have presided over a rise in inequality and a dramatic collapse in social mobility. And abroad, in Iraq and Afghanistan, the attempt to enforce freedom has led to bloody mayhem and the rise of an authoritarian anti-democratic Islamism. This, in turn, has helped inspire terrorist attacks in Britain. In response, the Government has dismantled long-standing laws designed to protect our freedom.
The Trap is a series of three films by Bafta-winning producer Adam Curtis that explains the origins of our contemporary, narrow idea of freedom. It shows how a simplistic model of human beings as self-seeking, almost robotic, creatures led to today's idea of freedom. This model was derived from ideas and techniques developed by nuclear strategists during the Cold War to control the behavior of the Soviet enemy."
Franny Armstrong (2009). "The Age of Stupid". London, Spanner Films / Passion Pictures.
"...I heard an American soldier say: 'There's a picture of the World Trade Center hanging up by my bed and I keep one in my Kevlar. Every time I feel sorry for these people I look at that. I think: 'They hit us at home and now it's our turn.'..."
LRB, Vol. 27 No. 3, 3 February 2005
"Welcome to YouTube – once a playground for teenagers, now an important front in the global war on terror. In recent months footage once available only in Baghdad shops and on jihadi message boards has appeared on video–sharing websites such as YouTube and Google Video.
Some of the videos appear to have been made for propaganda purposes, with Arabic or English subtitles and martial music on the soundtrack. Some show what appear to be the planning stages of an attack: fighters assembling mortars in a room with net curtains, or climbing up a verge with what seems to be an improvised bomb. Others show US soldiers shot dead by insurgent snipers, or Humvees blown up by roadside bombs."
(Suzanne Goldenberg, 7 October 2006, The Guardian)