As I said last weekend, I’ve been on a heavy Adam Curtis kick recently. Century of the Self is quite a worthwhile flick, but his latest, It Felt Like a Kiss, really pushes the boundaries. An experimental film commissioned initially by the BBC, Curtis collobarated with the Punchdrunk production company on it. It certainly has the feel of installation art in terms of disturbing images and disturbing music (special pieces by the Kronos Quartet jumped out at me, as did the frequent use of early Velvet Underground), but it has at bottom messages about politics, power, individualism and consumption that are sometimes ambiguous, often unsettling and always trenchant. Beware of the super-quick montages.
My one gripe is that Curtis can tend towards the paranoid. By his own admission, a lot of today’s politics is driven by paranoia. Fair enough, but I’m not sure about a couple of his assertions, like that the ‘computers that controlled the Cold War and guided the rockets to the moon’ were put to use analyzing the credit data of all Americans, or that the unnamed ‘founder’ of the CIA’s Clandestine Services (formerly the Directorate of Operations) went mad and committed suicide, but as film montage with a message about the politics of consumerism and desire, the film stands on its own.
Italy note: thanked alongside the AP, New York Daily News and ITN archives is Italy’s own Mediaset.