Monday, September 17, 2007

Alfonso Cuarón and Naomi Klein: The CIA's Love Affair With Shock Therapy

The CIA's Love Affair With Shock Therapy
Posted by Cliff Schecter

Alfonso Cuarón, director of "Children of Men", and Naomi Klein present a short film from Klein's book "The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism."

This film and book discuss the CIA's experimentation with using electric shock to break people down. Yet, the more important point of these works is that a broader "shock" to the systems of a people as a whole, like say 9/11, can have the kind of impact the CIA was searching for in their tests, one that breaks down a whole society and makes them so fearful they are open to nefarious suggestions.

I am sure none of this sound familiar, does it? This is very powerful stuff that can explain how a traumatized society may act, and may just explain to you why a certain former Mayor of New York mentions 9/11 4.75 times per sentence.

In any case here is a description in Naomi Klein's words--Watch the video!:

"My publisher came up with the idea of a "web trailer" but we ended up with a powerful piece of cinema instead. I never saw the film as a promotional tool for the book, or even an adaptation of it. I always saw it as a companion piece to the book, as a way to enter the same subject matter -- shock therapy, disorientation, torture -- on a different, much more emotional level. The central idea of the book is about the use of shocks to exploit people, whether an individual in a torture cell or an entire society. That is such a visual, physical idea that I felt limited by what I could do with mere words on a page -- I could argue and document but I knew that a true artist could find ways to take that argument and reach people on a deeper level. That's what Alfonso did.

When I finished the book, I sent it to Alfonso because I adore his films and felt that the future he created for Children of Men was very close to the present I was seeing in disaster zones. I was hoping he would send me a quote for the book jacket and instead he pulled together this amazing team of artists -- including Jonás Cuarón who directed and edited -- to make The Shock Doctrine short film. It was one of those blessed projects where everything felt fated."

To Watch the Video

A version is also on YouTube:

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