Can’t Get You Out of My Head

A new series of films exploring how contemporary Western society has been shaped by historic radical movements has arrived on the BBC iPlayer this week. ‘Can’t Get You Out of My Head: An Emotional History of the Modern World’ is the latest in a long line of works from political historian Adam Curtis that force the viewer to consider discomforting theories about the constructs of the world around them.

The eight-hour series explores radical societal upheavals ranging from the re-writing of history in Chairman Mao’s China to the infiltration of the Black Panther Party by undercover police in the USA. The theories presented by Curtis, informed by a breadth of diverse subjects from around the world, are potent and thought-provoking, and are backed by a soundtrack fusing pop with the avant-garde via Aphex Twin and the recently departed SOPHIE.

Across a forty-year career with the BBC, Curtis has been awarded four BAFTAs amidst a host of other plaudits. Recent film highlights include 2015’s ‘Bitter Lake’, a deconstruction of Western perceptions of militant Islamism, and 2016’s ‘HyperNormalisation’, which explores the paradoxes of contemporary Western society. Elsewhere, Curtis has collaborated with musicians Damon Albarn and Massive Attack in immersive theatre productions and interactive visual installations, while his BBC films regularly feature the music of such artists as Brian Eno, Nine Inch Nails and Burial.

‘Can’t Get You Out of My Head: An Emotional History of the Modern World’ is streaming on the BBC iPlayer now.