"Born out of the failure of the liberal dream ... politicians now promise to protect us from nightmares" / Leo Strauss and Sayyid Qutb: The Power of Nightmares & the Rise of Fear



The Power of Nightmares, subtitled The Rise of the Politics of Fear, is a BBC documentary film series, written and produced by Adam Curtis. Its three one-hour parts consist mostly of a montage of archive footage with Curtis' narration. The series was first broadcast in the United Kingdom in late 2004 and has subsequently been broadcast in multiple countries and shown in several film festivals, including the 2005 Cannes Film Festival. This film explores the origins in the 1940s and 50s of Islamic Fundamentalism in the Middle East, and Neoconservatism in America, parallels between these movements, and their effect on the world today.

Creative statement: "In the past our politicians offered us dreams of a better world. Now they promise to protect us from nightmares. The most frightening of these is the threat of an international terror network. But just as the dreams were not true, neither are these nightmares. In a new series, the Power of Nightmares explores how the idea that we are threatened by a hidden and organised terrorist network is an illusion. It is a myth that has spread unquestioned through politics, the security services and the international media. At the heart of the story are two groups: the American neo-conservatives and the radical Islamists. Both were idealists who were born out of the failure of the liberal dream to build a better world. These two groups have changed the world but not in the way either intended. Together they created today's nightmare vision of an organised terror network. A fantasy that politicians then found restored their power and authority in a disillusioned age. Those with the darkest fears became the most powerful."

Part One: Baby it's Cold Outside
Part Two: The Phantom Victory
Part Three: The Shadows in the Cave




Originally Posted 4/26/2011

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