The Light Bulb Conspiracy can be described as many things. It’s a documentary, first and foremost, and therefore pretty informative. But it is also shocking.
If you, like me, have never heard of something called ‘planned obsolescence’ be ready for a biggie. Now, on a day-to-day basis, I am quite happy to assume that the big driving forces of our society genuinely aim to improve our lives. Not because of naivety, but more because I feel this mindset could actually bring us closest to something we call peaceful existence. Help and be helped, right? Well, no. Actually, there are worldwide conspiracies whose only aim it is to make us use more, and therefore buy more. But surely, it can’t all be that bad? Well, in this film it is.
Like any other documentary, The Light Bulb Conspiracy is here to make the viewer think. The film consists of experts from all over the world talking about this economic phenomenon and its consequences and it takes us from to America’s Great Depression right down to present day Ghana. The themes range from consumerism to global environmental issues and the pictures quite often leave you speechless. Even though we start out in the 1920s all of the topics addressed are absolutely relevant to today’s society, let alone economy. What the film most effectively does is make you wonder. How much do we not know? What is really going on? Will we ever be able to fight back?
Stylistically, The Light Bulb Conspiracy is just your average documentary. Narrated by a female voice and interjected with suggestive music here and there, it recounts the history of economic conspiracies such as the one of the light bulb, by mixing old footage and present day interviews. There is nothing that hadn’t been done before, but this is not necessarily negative. Because the viewer is likely to be familiar with this sort of documentary, the topic in itself can shine. At times it feels like the pace and choice of the music and images is set in such a way to trigger automatic emotive responses to what is being said or shown. One of the setbacks of this is the constant need to re-asses your own impressions and opinions. The Light Bulb Conspiracy is a well-made documentary that can leave the viewer feeling very strongly about its subjects if one gave in to its persuasiveness. It’s easy to get carried away by this film, and this only proves how well it has been put together. Especially if you consider the length, which, at just under an hour, isn’t very much at all. The Light Bulb Conspiracy has the ability to tell just what is necessary, therefore making it a fast-paced and interesting film from start to finish. While this is a desirable trait in a documentary, some themes could have easily been fleshed out a little. Throughout the whole documentary, the viewer is constantly introduced to a new speaker with a theory of his own, and quite often it feels like you’ve barely seen the tip of the iceberg and you’re already being hurried along to the next conspiracy. But what really makes this film stand out is the variety of voices being heard. From Ghana to Germany to the United States to Russia, the speakers are all integral parts to the story and offer a wide variety of theories and ideas.
All in all, The Light Bulb Conspiracy is definitely worth a watch. From start to finish, it is interesting, revealing and entertaining. Just make sure you don’t get sucked in too much.
Antonia Landi for Trisickle.