Thoughts on Brazil

Friday, April 9, 2010 8:53 PM By Simon

Is it weird that I've never laughed at a Terry Gilliam movie? I've chuckled, I've nodded my head in appreciation, thinking, "Oh, I get it", because, as a normally dull person, I tend to savor the few moments of clarity I get. But I've never actually laughed at the non-Python sort.

Here, for example. We have face-stretching, visual gags in the form of ads, signs, secretaries transcribing the pain-filled cries of men being tortured. There's physical comedy, smart social satire on consumerism, a slap in the face of 1984 (in fact, the original title was to be '1984 1/2', in reference also to Fellini's 8 1/2). I should've been pissing my pants here, people.

Yet, all I could think of was the people who suffered around the whole thing. Of poor Mr. Buttles, the victim of a literal bug in the system, or being actively annoyed on behalf of Sam against the mindless paradoxes and hypocrisy of the system. At least in 1984 (which maybe the entire movie is a play-by-play of, one might venture into parody), they did eventually own up to the futility of their government, they openly admitted and were aware of that they just wanted to stay in power. This government is so hopeless because it doesn't seem to have a shit of self-awareness. In fact, maybe the only two people completely in the know, or at least aware that they aren't, are Sam (Jonathan Pryce) and Harry Tuttle (Robert De Niro).

This is the shit that goes through my mind when I watch anything. I don't even bother with war movies anymore.

Also, interesting tidbit sponsered by The Internet: In '93, Pryce had been working with River Phoenix on the unfinished 'Dark Blood'. This was Phoenix's favorite film, and Terry Gilliam was his hero. Because I imagine he's kind of awesome, Pryce set up a meeting between the two (Phoenix and Gilliam, that is). This day, because fate be a cruel mistress, was set for the day when Phoenix OD'd. They never met, and damn, that is sad. I'm going to go watch My Own Private Idaho.

Oh, wait...I kinda love Michael Palin.


Alex said...

This is one of my favorite movies ever, and I definitely think it's sad. I mean, it's partly a comedy, but it's satirical and so biting that it's hard not to feel sorry and hopeless for so much of the situation. So don't feel weird for busting your gut!

April 10, 2010 at 7:03 AM
Alex said...

I mean NOT busting your gut. Oops

April 10, 2010 at 7:04 AM