Adam Curtis: Bitter Lake / by James Kelleher

This is a story about a BBC press release. A press release that promised a “trilogy of documentaries about hypocrisy, deception and corruption in contemporary Britain” by Adam Curtis would arrive in July of this year. 

But this was a fantasy. 

Instead, we’re getting a 140-minute film – initially only available on the BBC iPlayer – about America, Britain, Russia, Saudi Arabia and, most of all, Afghanistan. The trailer below is notable for the absence of Curtis’ distinctive voiceover. We’ll have to wait until Sunday 25th January (update - Bitter Lake is now available to watch on the iPlayer here) to find out if he’s letting those big titles do the heavy narrative lifting. Watch for the second-to-last shot; it’s a treat.

⁋ Update: Curtis had an interesting 5-minute segment on Charlie Brooker’s 2014 Wipe. He looks at Putin advisor Vladislav Surkov and “a strategy of power that keeps any opposition constantly confused, a ceaseless shape-shifting that’s unstoppable because it’s indefinable.” Here it is:

If that whets your appetite for more sustained Surkov weirdness, check out this profile by Peter Pomerantsev for The Atlantic: The Hidden Author of Putinism.