The Use and Abuse of Narrative Concepts: Adam Curtis 

Posted: February 12, 2015 in posts by other people

In counter-point to my Adam Curtis piece, here’s the great Mark Dawes expressing his doubts about Mr Curtis’s work with characteristic élan. (See also: the comments under my Curtis piece).


Journalism’s job should always be to explain things to you. But in our age it should do that with real emotional power. But it doesn’t.Adam Curtis

In January 2015 Adam Curtis released another documentary to add to a few decades or more of highly-stylised journalistic films, situated squarely within the BBC’s cultural programming sector. Curtis is widely admired, in fact, he enjoys the status of a cult rock star to much of his devoted audience. I’m not convinced by his work, even though I find his subject matter worthwhile and his political and social position persuasive.

My good friend Ian Gillan and I recently augmented some of our pub visits with lengthy and detailed discussion of Curtis and his films. Ian synthesised some of these commentaries into a brilliant and respectful homage to Curtis – read it here (it’s magnificent). Ian’s excellent essay explores the features of…

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