Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Power of Nightmares

subtitle: The Rise of the Politics of Fear

Adam Curtis, 2007 (9.0*)
This three-hour BBC documentary details the historical and concurrent rise of Islamic fundamentalism, esp. Al Quaeda, and the neo-Christian right wing, both beginning around 1948 in the U.S. Most don't know that Al Q was basically started by a professor in Colorado that was disgusted by the lack of spirituality in the U.S., who "only worships the dollar". He went to Egypt to fight agains U.S. influence and imperialism in the Islamic nations of the Middle East, and was executed by the Egyptian government. The next day Al Quaeda had 5000 new members.

Meanwhile, in the U.S., the right wing began to urge both politicians and the clergy to "perpetuate the myth that the U.S. is the moral police of the world" and to mobilize church-goers to vote, who had become so dis-enfranchised that they shunned politics altogether. This documentary shows how each side built power by broadcasting a fear of the "other side", and gains financial, government, and military support the more each attacks the other and the media broadcasts all the "messages of fear".

In one part, the CIA admits that it created the "myth of organized international terrorism" in the 80's to help bring down the USSR by linking them to the terrorists. After the USSR fell, the CIA was unable to convince the right wing and the Christians that it was their own fabrication from their "black ops" or disinformation department, especially the "Bushy" Republicans.

This is uneven, at times repetitive in its use of the same footage, but is a must see by all who are interested in how we arrived at the current situation of chaos in the world. This film is free at, or can be rented or purchased on DVD.
Note: rated 9.1 at IMDB, this has one of the highest ratings there - in fact it's the same rating at the #1 rated film there, The Shawshank Redemption


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These are the individual film reviews of what I'm considering the best 1000 dvds available, whether they are films, miniseries, or live concerts. Rather than rush out all 1000 at once, I'm doing them over time to allow inclusion of new releases - in fact, 2008 has the most of any year so far, 30 titles in all; that was a very good year for films, one of the best ever.

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