Documentary about the role of psychoanalysis, marketing, and public relations in the United States [Four episodes].

[From BBC4] Adam Curtis’ acclaimed BBC documentary series examines the rise of the all-consuming self against the backdrop of the Freud dynasty. To many in both politics and business, the triumph of the self is the ultimate expression of democracy, where power has finally moved to the people. Certainly the people may feel they are in charge, but are they really? The Century of the Self tells the untold and sometimes controversial story of the growth of the mass-consumer society in Britain and the United States. How was the all-consuming self created, by whom, and in whose interests?

The Century of the Self Part 1: Happiness Machines

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The Century of the Self Part 2: The Engineering of Consent

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The Century of the Self Part 3:There is a Policeman Inside All Our Heads: He Must Be Destroyed

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The Century of the Self Part 4: Eight People Sipping Wine in Kettering

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[From BBC4] The Freud dynasty is at the heart of this compelling social history. Sigmund Freud, founder of psychoanalysis; Edward Bernays, who invented public relations; Anna Freud, Sigmund’s devoted daughter; and present-day PR guru and Sigmund’s great grandson, Matthew Freud.

Sigmund Freud’s work into the bubbling and murky world of the subconscious changed the world. By introducing a technique to probe the unconscious mind, Freud provided useful tools for understanding the secret desires of the masses. Unwittingly, his work served as the precursor to a world full of political spin doctors, marketing moguls, and society’s belief that the pursuit of satisfaction and happiness is man’s ultimate goal.


[From Village Voice] ….The true subject of Curtis’s lucid, pessimistic film, it turns out, is the frightening adaptability of consumer capitalism.” Click for Full Review




Freud Museum, London
Biographical info, photos and written archives

Sigmund Freud and the Freud Archives
Links and archive photos and manuscripts

Public Relations Museum: Edward Bernays
Superb overview of the PR founder and his various marketing ploys