Can’t Get You Out of My Head was far and away one of the best things I saw last year. Depressing, yes, but challenging and unique. Its director/ narrator Adam Curtis is a documentary maker like no other and HyperNormalisation I first saw when it came out (BBC, still available). It is the reason I was so keen to see Can’t Get You Out of My Head. Curtis’ commitment to being totally of its own is, one could argue, contrary to his argument that by being individual we are conforming.
But that’s a fucking minefield and he’s smarter than me and I like him, so whatever.
I hide it well but perhaps it rankles with me because Adam Curtis, in observing that individualists who deflect unity are actually harmful to progression and should turn that lens on themselves, undermines
Bedsit Cinema me. The whole purpose of Bedsit Cinema is individualism; I have a philosophy behind it which goes hand in hand with my motivation, fortunately: I write Bedsit Cinema because I’m selfish. There.
HyperNormalisation will overwhelm you with its idiosyncratic commentary. I wish learning was this much fun when I was at school.
Can’t Get You Out of My Head was broken down into hour long episodes, which despite my fascination with it, HyperNormalisation could have done with. It is three hours long. Curtis’ narration is perfect, I love the sound of his voice and if you listen to him on any podcasts he speaks so well, considered and concisely that it’s almost as if it isn’t scripted. I assume it is scripted, can you imagine compiling three hours of footage from thousands of hours of footage then just winging the rest?
Curtis defends his stance as purely journalistic, without prejudice or bias, and it’s hard to argue with him. Mainly because he’s smarter and better informed than you, and me, and I’m most important because I’m an individualist. Like a cool Ken Burns, Curtis tells longform history which draws you in, but with obscure and contrasting clips and music. A cultural collage made madcap but which makes perfect sense, and more.
I am so envious of Curtis’ ability to not only consume media so widely and diversely, but to understand it and then explain and use with all he’s learned. Given it is six years old, some of HyperNormalisation feels a little less topical but its commentary is not diminished. A preoccupation with Russia, and I really hope he isn’t prophetic, has continued through to Curtis’ current series (also available on iPlayer) Russia 1985-1999: TraumaZone. Only gets a 9/10 because this isn’t six years ago.