And now for something completely different… This “documentary” by British filmmaker Adam Curtis is a story about America and how, starting in 1959, it set out not only to remake the world, but our lives and imaginations.
Writing in The Guardian back in 2009 when it debuted as part of a multimedia theatrical experience commissioned for the Manchester International Festival, Charlie Brooker described it this way:
…where his preceding works have occasionally been a touch eccentric, this one takes the piss. It is completely and utterly demented – in a positive way. I’m not saying it doesn’t make sense; if anything, it forges its own new brand of coherence whether you like it or not. This is a documentary running on alien software. I’m at a loss to describe it. For starters, the trademark Curtis voiceover has gone completely, replaced instead by occasional, simple captions. Music is at the forefront. Ominous soundscapes and bubblegum pop weave their way around the images: archive news, Hollywood movies. It’s hypnotic.
The film’s title comes from a Carole King song that describes how “he hit me and it felt like a kiss” and that was produced, eerily enough, by Phil Spector.