Adam Curtis' THE POWER OF NIGHTMARES: THE RISE OF THE POLITICS OF FEAR is the acclaimed and controversial three-part BBC documentary that explores the "official truth" that we are threatened by a hidden and highly organized international terrorist network could be an illusion.
An Official Selection at this year's Cannes International Film festival, THE POWER OF NIGHTMARES was also shown at the San Francisco International Film Festival (where it received the Golden Gate Persistence of Vision Award) and Tribeca Film Festivals to much praise and received a BAFTA award for "Best Factual Series."
In the past, politicians promised to create a better world. They had different ways of achieving this, but their power and authority came from the optimistic visions they offered their people. In THE POWER OF NIGHTMARES, Curtis says those dreams failed and today people have lost faith in ideologies. Increasingly, politicians are seen simply as managers of public life, but now they have discovered a new role that restores their power and authority. Instead of delivering dreams, politicians now promise to protect us from nightmares.
The politicians say that they will rescue us from dangers that we cannot see and do not understand. And the greatest danger of all is international terrorism, a powerful and sinister network with sleeper cells in countries across the world, a threat that needs to be fought by a "War on Terror." But, Curtis argues, much of this threat is a fantasy, which has been exaggerated and distorted by politicians. It is a dark illusion that has spread unquestioned through governments around the world, the security services and the international media. THE POWER OF NIGHTMARES is a series of films about how and why that fantasy was created and who it benefits.
At the heart of the story are two groups: the American neoconservatives and the radical Islamists. Both were idealists, who were born out of the failure of the liberal dream to build a better world and both had a very similar explanation of what caused that failure. These two groups have changed the world, but not in the way that either intended. Together, they created today's nightmare vision of a secret organized evil that threatens the world, a fantasy that politicians then found restored their power and authority in a disillusioned age. And those with the darkest fears became the most powerful.
THE POWER OF NIGHTMARES is comprised of three one-hour episodes - Part I "Baby, It's Cold Outside," Part II "The Phantom Victory" and Part III "Shadows in the Cave."