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The Power of Nightmares (T/F 2005) by Adam Curtis

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Aired in three parts on the BBC, this compelling film caused a firestorm in England last fall, overturning all conventional wisdom about the War on Terror. Curtis, narrating in the BBC’s authoritative voice, traces the intertwined stories of neoconservatives and radical Islamists in the last 50 years, and how they have stoked the Fear Factor so as to cultivate a myth: that a hidden, highly organized Islamist terrorist network is ready to strike at any moment. While Curtis doesn’t deny 9/11, Madrid, or the possibility of fresh outrages in future, he questions why our leaders embrace and reinforce this particular threat. Curtis’s rigorous analysis — so unwilling to topple easy targets — is augmented by rich archival images. All throughout, the viewer’s mind reels: Our world has been made ripe for reevaluation.