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BRAZIL 1985 By Terry Gilliam Essay - 298 Words
The non-linear approach taken in Brazil worked far better than it would in Gilliam’s next outing, The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, where the thread just seemed confused rather than meaningful. Brazil, however, stands out as one of the visionary dark comedies and also one of the great works of sci-fi to come out of the 1980s that doesn’t have “Star” in its name. Criterion has, per usual, done this film a great service in this 2-disc edition.
Brazil is Terry Gilliam’s 1985 Orwellian, dark comedy masterpiece. Originally meant for release in the much more apposite year of 1984, the director would run into problems with Universal Studios over Brazil‘s nearly two-and-a-half-hour running time and pessimistic ending. A standoff would occur between Gilliam and the studio, and the intervening year would see a full-page ad taken out by the director demanding the film be released while public pressure mounted against Universal. Finally, Brazil would see release. What the world received was a meshing of the dark, dystopian futuristic visions of Orwell and Kafka with a gritty steam-punk visual style borrowed from films like and Blade Runner. The darker attributes of the oppressive technological juggernaut and “big brother” bureaucratic oversight that the film would portray, centered around protagonist, Sam Lowry (Jonathan Pryce), would only be tempered by the wry and cynically biting undercurrent of humor and elaborate dreamscapes interwoven into the film. Lowry is himself a cog in the machine, a civil servant in the tangled bureaucratic administration responsible for controlling society’s criminal element. His only escape from the crumbling world around him is to drift off into elaborate reveries in which he is a god-like entity souring through the sky with wings, rescuing a beautiful maiden from a robotic samurai warrior. But Sam finds himself entangled in a dangerous investigation in the real world, when the supercomputer that spits out the names of criminals meant to be processed gives a false hit, and no one around him seems to care that they have the wrong man. Suddenly, Sam is the one in danger when he must, in an ironic twist, investigate the girl from his dreams, Jill Layton (Kim Greist). As it turns out, she is hardly the the angelic woman he dreams of, put a tough, truck driving radical associated with terrorist groups.
Terry Gilliam Brazil Analysis - Term Paper
The manic pace at which Brazil proceeds, the greyish sets, and the persistent comedic portrayal of how technology becomes a burden raised to the heights of ridiculousness more than the promise of easing our lives is very reminiscent of the films of Jacques Tati, such as . Gilliam takes Tati’s lighthearted approach and turns it on its ear. Rather than seeing the world as a playful place where technology amplifies the inane, Gilliam makes it the example of how it can make things so much more burdensome and create the bureaucracy we wish to escape, rather than set us free.
Written by Terry Gilliam, Charlie McKeown and Tom Stoppard, Brazil was a groundbreaking movie which brought to light many issues within society which were valid in 1985 and remain so today.
Film Review Brazil (1985) by Terry Gilliam Essay …
Audio commentary by Gilliam
What Is “Brazil”?, Rob Hedden’s on-set documentary (29:07)
The Production Notebook, a collection of 6 interviews and video essays, featuring a trove of Brazil-iana from Gilliam’s personal collection
Radford's Adaptation of 1984 While researching for a book on the making of and feud over the American release of Terry Gilliam's Brazil, author Jack Mathews read virtually every review of the film printed in the United States and found that very few failed to refer to the film as "futuristic" or "Orwellian." "The comparisons are understandable, if inaccurate," says Mathews, "There isn't a futuristic element in Brazil.
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