Century of the Self

Century of the Self

Director(s): Adam Curtis

Fest Year: 2015

Series: True Vision Award Repertory

Runtime: 4:00

In Person: dir. Adam Curtis

The Century of the Self argues for the importance of Edward Bernays, a little-known nephew of Sigmund Freud who brought his uncle’s insights to America in the 1920s, creating both “public relations” and modern advertising by replacing rational arguments with carefully constructed appeals to base drives. He was central to the postwar political project to create a stable society, which later psychoanalysts turned on its head, employing radical methods to liberate the “real” self in the face of a repressive society. Despite this dispute, the psychoanalysts’ shared belief in the supreme importance of the inner self came to define the 20th century. This complex and fascinating story is deftly handled by Adam Curtis in a dazzling four-part tour de force, as his narrative illuminates decades of misconceptions and manipulations at the heart of how we see the world. (DS)