8.2/10
2,365
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.

Director:

Adam Curtis

Writer:

Adam Curtis
Reviews
1 win. See more awards »

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Cast

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

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...

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Documentary

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Details

Official Sites:

BBC [United Kingdom]

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

25 January 2015 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Adam Curtis: Bitter Lake See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Color
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Did You Know?

Connections

Features Carry On Up the Khyber (1968) See more »

Soundtracks

Corona Radiata
Performed by Nine Inch Nails
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User Reviews

 
Bitter Lake is a documentary that uses the recent history of Afghanistan to explain the modern world
2 February 2015 | by smeltmanSee all my reviews

Bitter Lake is for the most part a history of interventions in Afghanistan by the US, the UK and also Russia since halfway the 20th century.

The film follows the extremist Islamic idea of Wahhabism. It was transported east through the Arabic world, influencing the formation of the Taliban, Al Quaida and ISIS. All because the US accepted the idea in the partners they dealt with while looking for oil.

It's an interesting documentary, told mostly chronologically. This allows Curtis to compare events through time, for example the Russian invasion to the more recent western occupation.

A lot of the footage that is shown is filmed in Afghanistan and this stresses the constant violence the land has to witness. Because of the many groups involved in each area, enemy is a diffuse term there.

The film is advertised as epic on the BBC Iplayer but could have been shorter. In the first half there were shots in between the narrative that could have been left out. But all in all Bitter Lake offers a perspective that is great at telling us something about the modern world and a lot about Afganistan.


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