orwellian documentaries

In the sidebar of his blog Dialogic blogger Thivai Abhor maintains a nice list of documentary films which are available online. After having skimmed through a bit, my personal interests were most matched by the three shortly described below. But Dialogic also points to Top Documentary Films, a blog reviewing, commenting, and linking to 1800+ documentary films, all available online, and sorted into categories.

All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace (Curtis 2011)

A series of films about how humans have been colonized by the machines they have built. Although we don’t realize it, the way we see everything in the world today is through the eyes of the computers. It claims that computers have failed to liberate us and instead have distorted and simplified our view of the world around us. […] (Top Documentary Films)

Iraq for Sale: The War Profiteers (Greenwald 2006)

Documentary portraying the actions of U.S. corporate contractors in the U.S.-Iraq war. Interviews with employees and former employees of such companies as Halliburton, CACI, and KBR suggest that government cronyism is behind apparent “sweetheart” deals that give such contractors enormous freedom to profit from supplying support and material to American troops while providing little oversight. Survivors of employees who were killed discuss the claim that the companies cared more for profit than for the welfare of their own workers, and soldiers indicate that the quality of services provided is sub-standard and severely in contradiction to the comparatively huge profits being generated. Also depicted are the unsuccessful attempts by the filmmakers to get company spokesmen to respond to the charges made by the interviewees.
(Jim Beaver at IMDb)

Orwell Rolls in His Grave (Pappas 2003)

The film examines the current and past relationships between the media, the US government and corporations, analyzing the possible consequences of the concentration of media ownership. Making references to George Orwell’s novel Nineteen Eighty-Four, the film argues that reality has met and in some ways exceeded Orwell’s expectations about a society dominated by thought control, which is made possible by the media. According to the film, the mass media no longer report news, but manage it, deciding what makes the headlines and what is conveniently ignored, thus ultimately defining the framework upon which most other issues are discussed by the society. As an example, it is claimed that since the late 1980s there’s been an agenda pursued by the major media corporations regarding the deregulation of the media market, by which news reports sell all its benefits while neglecting its disastrous results.

CURTIS, ADAM. 2011. All watched over by machines of loving grace [TV documentary series]. Three episodes. London: BBC Productions.
GREENWALD, ROBERT. 2006. Iraq for sale: The war profiteers [documentary film]. Culver City: Brave New Films.
PAPPAS, ROBERT KANE. 2003. Orwell rolls in his grave [documentary film]. ?????: Sag Harbor-Basement Pictures.
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