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It Felt Like a Kiss (T/F 2010) by Adam Curtis

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“When a nation is powerful it tells the world confident stories — they can be wonderful or frightening — but they make sense of the world.” It Felt Like a Kiss is Adam Curtis’s (The Power of Nightmares) psycho-archaeological dig into the mass psychosis that is the American Empire, buoyed by the most jubilant music imaginable. Built on fast-changing montages of archival footage, Curtis’s masterful essay fills a viewer with a devastating dread and a sense that everything we know is wrong. While America remade the world, its natives went bonkers: Lou Reed was given electroshock, Brian Wilson was ravaged by screaming in his head, Phil Spector became a nasty recluse. The upside: earthshaking, groundbreaking pop nuggets. It Felt Like a Kiss is devastating: a neutron bomb designed to obliterate all of our shared stories.

Read an in-depth interview with Adam Curtis from e-flux.