The Turner Film Diaries

James T. Hong, The Netherlands / Taiwan, 2012, black and white, video, 26'

What initially appears to be a legitimate indictment of American cultural decadence turns out to be the filming of an ultra-rightwing manifesto. In 1978, William Pierce wrote The Turner Diaries under the pseudonym Andrew MacDonald. It was a novel that would later inspire others to commit violent acts, including Timothy McVeigh, who killed 168 people in the Oklahoma City bombing of 1995. The book is a fictitious retrospective on a "successfully" completed global ethnic cleansing. This documentary adopts a similar perspective. A demonic voice-over reads passages from the book, while abstract black-and-white images support the chaotic and hateful worldview. The documentary moves on to suggest that a society of mass consumption, obesity, dislocation and addiction can be a breeding ground for this outlook. The lack of logic in the reasoning is masterfully adopted in the editing. Director James T. Hong - specialized in polemical experimental films such as A Portrait of Sino-American Friendship - has made yet another resolutely provocative piece. The fact that this way of thinking - destruction as salvation - is music to the ears of some people is as fascinating as it is abhorrent.

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