Monday, March 26, 2007


I hope everybody took time out of busy schedules to watch The Trap - What Happened to our Dream of Freedom. It was the most engaging, entertaining, surreal, real, hyperreal, Lynchian, absurdist, dadaist evocation of the televisual format I have witnessed in many a mile. Documentarian Adam Curtis takes the idea of freedom in the 20th century, as concieved of by Cold War era academics, thinkers, philosophers, economists and sociolagists as his starting point. The rest unfolds randomly naturally from there. A voiceoever telling you 'the way it is, and was a will be' is at the centre, while images from stock footage and news footage and silent cinema and modern blockbusters combine, collide and converge with music from Sibelius, Joy Division and Bernard Hermann. The result is highly informative, deeply serious, insanely comical, totally throwaway, inifinately re-watchable and absolutely essential viewing.

Unfortunately, the final episode, screened last night, was neither the satisfying conclusion I had wanted. It seems as if Mr. Curtis felt compelled, or market forces (that, as he tells us are just one of the things running our lives) forced him to crowbar in a 'message' - a truely pat, bland, simplification I don't even care to remember. That patronising, lecturous tone employed by so many documentary filmmakers is exactly what his extended docu-dream had undermined and satirised so well for 2 and a half hours of its three hour running time. A confused and muddled conclusion opposed to a contradictory and enigmatic one.


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