Watch: 4 Documentaries on Worldwide Power by a Prolific Filmmaker You've Probably Never Even Heard Of
The Guardian profiled English fimmaker Adam Curtis prior to the TV release of his last film, Bitter Lake, BBC iPlayer-only epic:
Bitter Lake takes as its premise a meeting in February 1945 between the then US president Franklin D Roosevelt and King Ibn Saud of Saudi Arabia. Sitting on a yacht on the Great Bitter Lake of the Suez Canal, the pair struck a deal: the US would support this newly formed state and, in return, the Saudis would ensure a continuing stream of oil to the west.
But Curtis has been making films about the rise of Islamism, neoconservatism and the arms trade for decades.
Even though Curis' films have won four BAFTAs, the BBC is largely impartial when the director introduced the project:
No one was really interested at the BBC, but [the cameraman Phil Goodwin] gave them to me about two years ago and I’ve been going through them. They’re wonderful, amazing. And I just realised that you could make a film out of the footage, one that actually captured the reality of the experience there. Not of everything. But it gives you a sense of how complex, strange and knowing the Afghans are.
"I believe that it’s possible to make the world intelligible – however complex and chaotic it is,” he says. “That is the progressive job of journalism. The other reaction – which is to say, ‘Things are just so complex and unpredictable that you can never make sense of them’ – is, I think, one of the main motors that supports the conservatism of our time, " Curtis told The Guardian.
Curtis also believes "all reality is incredibly complex and chaotic. To make sense of it we have to tell stories about it – which inevitably simplifies. And that is what politicians – and journalists – do. What I try to do is to find new facts and data, things you haven’t thought about, and turn them into new stories. My aim is to use those stories to try and make the complexity and chaos intelligible," the director explained.