Adam Curtis: Bitter Lake


Martino Knockavelli

Yes. I was offering 1/12 on the soundtrack leaning heavily on Burial (tho Nine Inch Nails were at fifties).

I think this is perhaps his best yet and a hell of a thing when you think about the scope and what that actually entails in the making of it.

I've always thought he was better understood as a polemicist/propagandist than a documentarian, but here I think audiovisual artist would be more apt. Even longer stretches of unnarrated, associate montage, a narrative/thesis constructed out of the oddball scraps left on the editing floor. The stuff you could compare it to belongs to the cinematic avantgarde (or thereabouts): Peter Delpeut, maybe that Mark Cousins Children and Film thing.

I guess it'd break the spell (and the spell is everything), but I'd love to know a bit more about his working method. Combing through hours and hours of rushes for a wee bit there, an image here. Does he know what shape it's going to take before he starts? Which way round is it? Is someone dispatched to the archives and told not to come back until they've got 15 clips and 4 minutes of people dancing? (and if so can I get that job?)

I wonder also about the Rorschach test nature of it all. Him staring at all this footage and discerning a thread, conjuring it into something coherent. Then me watching the finished article and immediately reducing it to an exercise in aesthetics. And perhaps that too is inherent, even deliberate, the po-mo-ery, "bewildered and disorientated"...

Piss on the Auntie for not sticking on BBC 2 though.


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I really liked the slowness of it. Gave you a chance to actually sit and try and understand some of the things being said.

Martino Knockavelli

Probs a couple more in there too, but most of it is 3 tracks over and over again: A Warm Place by NIN, Come Down To Us by Burial and one of the Cliff Martinez tracks off the Drive soundtrack.

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