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The 7 Best Adam Curtis Documentaries You Can Watch Online

Adam Curtis may be the greatest living British documentary filmmaker.

His documentaries have reached a massive through the BBC and he has become something of cult hero on the Internet with his films being streamed tens of millions of time on YouTube.

His documentary style has been described as combining dreamlike art, pop culture, politics and psychology to illuminate the way power works behind the scenes.

His thought-provoking films do a brilliant job of documenting the huge shift in the West in the 20th century toward a mass, consumer-based society controlled by industrialists and technocrats from the top.

This has led to a concetration of power that has never been witnessed before in history and ultimately is now culminating in a meta-crisis where we face a global ecological crisis and the potential breakdown of industrial civilization.

If you want to learn the history of how we got to where we are today, I have found no better documentarian and storyteller than Adam Curtis.

He is is an excellent storyteller with a unique ability to uncover the false narratives of modern history while re-telling the events that have shaped our world without entertaining unnecessary conspiracy theories.

A Timeline of Adam Curtis Documentaries

If you want to gain a deeper sense of why we’re in the mess we’re in today and how it might be fixed, I highly recommend watching these 7 documentary films made by Adam Curtis.

If you’re new to Adam Curtis and his artistic documentary style, you should start by watching the 5-minute trailer for his latest film HyperNormalisation.

1. Trauma Zone (2022)

The latest documentary film from Adam Curtis is a 6-part series called TraumaZone, which came out in September 2022. It takes a different approach than his previous documentaries, offering no commentary just footage from the BBC video archives.

TraumaZone documents the decline of the Soviet Union and the traumatic development of Russia in the post-Communist era under the reign of Vladimir Putin (he discusses the relevance of the film here).

2. Can’t Get You Out Of My Head (2021)

The 5-part Can’t Get You Out of My Head: An Emotional History of the Modern World was released on February 11th, 2021.

3. HyperNormalisation (2016)

The story of the rise of fake news in the post-truth world and how economic statistics are manipulated in the West today to create a false sense of progress and stability.

4. Bitter Lake (2015)

The story of the American-Saudi Alliance and how the petrodollar gave America a seemingly unlimited credit card and lead to today’s endless wars in the Middle East.

5. All Watched Over By Machines of Loving Grace (2011)

The dark side of Silicon Valley’s techno-utopianism and how technology has led people into filter bubbles and ideological-slanted safe spaces that distort their view of society and isolate them from alternative perspectives.

6. The Power of Nightmares (2004)

The story of the powerful business interests behind the War on Terrorism and how politicians have found it more convenient to use the fear of nightmares to manipulate and control democratic societies instead of offering a vision of a better world.

7. The Century of the Self (2002)

Today, there are twice as many journalists working in the public relations and advertising industries than in journalism in most Western democratic societies (a complete reversal from the 1970s).

The Century of the Self explores how the term public relations was coined by Sigmund Freud’s nephew Edward Bernays as a way to shape opinion in democratic societies by using advertising and political spectacles designed to manipulate our unconscious desires for validation and group connection.

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