Film review: The Century of the Self: Part 1/4 Happiness Machine (2002) by Adam Curtis

In my review of The Century of the Self (2002) by Adam Curtis (1955) I was taken on a journey through the early 19th century up until the dynamic Wall Street Crash. Initially, this began with a brief history of the Freud family. We were told about the philosopher and theorist Sigmund Freud’s (1893-1895) psychoanalysis of individuals and how this was and arguably still is embedded in contemporary civilisation. Ideas relating to dreams, sexuality, gender, and society were discussed by the narrator and significant doctors and professors. What I found interesting was the idea that during the pre 20th-century women were encouraged to smoke, mainly for consumerism purposes, especially as cigarettes are often considered to be symbols of masculinity. This was strange to me because in contemporary times a cigarette can denote a negative persona and has been proven to have a bad effect on pregnant women. Points of interest from the lecture (Curtis, 2002).

Reference list:

Curtis, A. (2002) The Century of the Self. Available at (Accessed: 22/02/2016)


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