24 user 7 critic

Bitter Lake (2015)

An experimental documentary that explores Saudi Arabia's relationship with the U.S. and the role this has played in the war in Afghanistan.


Adam Curtis


Adam Curtis
1 win. See more awards »


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Credited cast:
George Bush ... Himself (archive footage)
George W. Bush ... Himself (archive footage)
Joanne Herring ... Herself (archive footage)
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Mike Martin Mike Martin ... Himself - Captain - British Army, Helmand 2008-2009 (as Dr. Mike Martin)
Ronald Reagan ... Himself (archive footage)


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. Bitter Lake is a new, adventurous and epic film by Adam Curtis that explains why the big stories that politicians tell us have become so simplified that we can't really see the world any longer. The narrative goes all over the world, America, Britain, Russia and Saudi Arabia - but the country at the heart of it is Afghanistan. Because 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 thirty 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 Bitter Lake is also experimental. Curtis has taken the unedited rushes of...

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Official Sites:

BBC [United Kingdom]





Release Date:

25 January 2015 (UK) See more »

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Adam Curtis: Bitter Lake See more »

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References Solaris (1972) See more »


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User Reviews

A rare antidote to the laundered official record
29 March 2015 | by peterogers2See all my reviews

People are immobilised mentally by gratefully clinging to the more glorious story of our attempts to rid the world of evil, to the extent that, as a result, they are no longer able to construct a sensible equation between what is being achieved and the suffering of others. We have become like the Germans were, over which we scoffed and carped and declared our moral superiority for decades, offering, as they did, nothing but adulation for the glorious troops and dismissing the treacherous thought that evil was being done. This is an important historical document confronts us under the pure rules of reason with an intervention by the British Crown in Helmand which was both a terrible and an act of profound evil because despite being told in no uncertain terms that they were about to attack a host of innocent people trying to resist the corrupt local government, we dropped bombs on them thereby turning appalling injustice into a catastrophe for the innocent by an act of supreme evil. The great point illustrated here, which no-one is really picking up, is that the mainstream news never told the country about this possibility, only of our honour and bravery and sacrifice in pursuing the Taliban, which turns out to be dishonest and unbalanced reporting, acting for the state, not the honour of the Press and Media. We can from these brave revelations that if something is not done then Big Brother and The Ministry of Truth will have got its way and vanquished our national sense of fair play and humanity. It is deeply worrying to our democracy and the plurality required of the Mass media that the BBC has prevented this programme from general release and that it will soon be lost to us because DVD's are not possible as things stand and it will be removed from its only source, iPlayer, worryingly for free speech the film has already been stopped on YouTube, what does that say? Adam Curtis has tried everything here to get through our complacency and to awaken us to what is really happening, and it is time that we told our leaders that they must stop and that an independent Judicial Enquiry over which the Government and Crown have no control be undertaken to root out those who commit these awful crimes in our names whilst skulking behind doors of secrecy. It shows that our democracy is a fraud as no-one would have wanted any of this in their name.

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