Sunday, November 13, 2016

HyperNormalisation (2016)

Director: Adam Curtis
Writer: Adam Curtis

HyperNormalisation is the latest documentary from counter-historian Adam Curtis and it was released last month on BBC iPlayer. In the film, Curtis argues that since the 1970s, governments, financiers, and technological utopians have given up on the complex 'real world' and built a simple 'fake world' that is run by corporations and kept stable by politicians.

Out of all Curtis documentaries, this one I think would be the hardest to explain in rather simple terms. In the aftermath of Trump's presidential election win, we had articles pointing out that Facebook helped him in winning the election because those who rely on Facebook for news tend to be in an echo-chamber where their ideas are not challenged and they kept on being fed what they want to hear because of its algorithm. The basic point about the documentary is that we are living in a times where everyone is searching for a simple narrative and the politicians also follow that. He cites the example of West's relationship with Gaddafi where both of them cynically played the role that the other wanted them to play for the larger audience. The tendency to put blame on supervillains in search of simple narratives. The whole brooha about Saddam Hussein and WMDs after 2001 was just a repeat of how Gaddafi was portrayed in the 80s when the US really knew that it was senior Assad's Syria who were doing it in the 80s. They didn't want to take on Assad then because Reagan's forces were already driven out from Lebanon by Assad's unleashment of Shiite suicide bombers. Of course, everything came back to bite both US and West back because the concept of suicide bombers have mutated now to become more of a Sunni thing. Senior Assad wanted to unite Arab world and now the suicide bombers are tearing it apart.

The catharsis of the documentary comes up with Trump's presidential campaign and how he draws up parallel with Putin's shape shifting reality. It also focuses on Putin's chief enforcer Vladislav Surkov who sees Russia as one big reality show and the same thing is happening in Trump's USA. Last thirty or so years has greatly eroded people's trust in politicians and what it has resulted is that truth of reality is not much important anymore.

The other main strand in the documentary is about how the major movements that started with the help of social media, occupy Wall Street and Arab Spring mainly, have spectacularly failed. You can get people assembled with social media's simple narrative but they don't have an answer to the present system. Liberal left is failing and far right is filling the vacuum all over the World.

Rating: 4.5/5