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Zeitgeist: The Movie

You may have already heard of Zeitgeist: The Movie. Chances are you’ll have been recommended it by a bright-eyed, madcap character, some time, at some kind of house party or social gathering. I first saw Zeitgeist back in my first year of university when a friend of mine came to me preaching about its immense ability to awaken your perceptions on society. I’d almost completely forgotten about it until I was kicking back with a friend and a few joints a couple of weekends ago. We were discussing conspiracy theories and the current state of society and then Zeitgeist popped into my head, causing us to search it up online. That’s what Zeitgeist does, you see: it penetrates stoner circles, social networks, everyday citizens and highly energetic neo-Marxist political protesters alike.

Zeitgeist: The Movie is a conspiracy theory documentary exploring the complex ideas behind the formation of contemporary society. It tackles this in three chapters: The Greatest Story Ever Told – essentially dealing with Christianity as a system of control; All The World’s a Stage – highlighting strong conspiracy theories surrounding the 9/11 terrorist attacks and the government’s use of ‘terrorism’ to control the docile masses; and Don’t Mind the Men Behind the Curtain – which discusses recent wars for economical gain, international bankers, the Federal Reserve Bank and Globalization.

Zeitgeist began as a performance piece, consisting of live instrumentals, recorded music, and video over a six-night duration in New York City sometime back in 2007. It was then leaked online in the form of a film, where it quickly gathered an incredible number of views, with an estimated Google Video count of over 100 million.

This all sounds very successful. However, Zeitgeist: The Movie has constantly received heavy criticism from the mass media for its crackpot ideas, unchecked sources, and use of very little expert opinion unless it agrees with the theories being presented. Paul Constant of The Stranger describes it as “based solely on anecdotal evidence” and “fiction, couched in a few facts”. However, the film is rich with ideas that object to everyday humdrum opinions and, although it is obviously very one-sided, it poses new questions and then continues to answer them in a logical way. The film is essentially about these ideas and as Zeitgeist’s official website explains, “the work was never designed as a film or even a documentary in a traditional sense - it was designed as a creative, provoking, emotionally driven expression, full of artistic extremity and heavily stylized gestures”.

Whether they are misleading twists on genuine, contemporary issues or powerful, intellectual insights that dispel modern conceptions of society, Zeitgeist: The Movie is definitely a film full of ideas. And it’s these ideas that are important, which turn on the everyday masses to a new point of view – a view isolated from regulated media. And although they should be taken with a pinch of salt and heavy debate between viewers, you’ll undoubtedly find yourself recommending Zeitgeist: The Movie to someone, sometime, at some kind of house party or social gathering.

Watch Zeitgeist: The Movie at the official website, where you can also find the newly released Zeitgeist: Moving Forward

Image taken by Germes 1979

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