Teaser: Adam Curtis’ Bitter Lake arrives on iPlayer on Sunday
Staff Reporter | On 24, Jan 2015Reading time: 2 mins
Politicians used to have the confidence to tell us stories that made sense of the chaos of world events. But now there are no big stories and politicians react randomly to every new crisis – leaving us bewildered and disorientated.
That’s the argument behind Bitter Lake, a new, adventurous and epic film by Adam Curtis that aims to explain why the big stories that politicians tell us have become so simplified that we can’t really see the world any longer.
The documentary, which spans two hours and 17 minutes, gave viewers a taste of its ambitious essay on Charlie Brooker’s 2014 Wipe – a striking, provocative five-minute shock to the intellectual system amid the more conventional satire.
Now, Curtis’ Bitter Lake arrives on BBC iPlayer tomorrow (Sunday 25th January) at 9pm.
The journalist’s movie travels the world, from America and Britain to Russia and Saudi Arabia – but the country at the heart of it is Afghanistan. Because Curtis argues that Afghanistan is the place that has confronted our politicians with the terrible truth – that they cannot understand what is going on any longer.
The film reveals the forces that over the past 30 years rose up and undermined the confidence of politics to understand the world. And it shows the strange, dark role that Saudi Arabia has played in this.
But, as anyone whose brain was frazzled by 2014 Wipe can testify, Bitter Lake is also experimental. Curtis has taken the unedited rushes of almost everything that the BBC has ever shot in Afghanistan and promises to use them in “new and radical ways”.
The BBC has decided to commission the film exclusively for BBC iPlayer – because, it says, iPlayer is a “completely unexplored new area” that offers opportunities to “experiment with new and more involving forms of reporting”. Indeed, it is the first in a range of new online commissions for 2015, which include comedy short films, tours of art exhibitions and original drama from new talent. For more information on the full line-up, head this way.