Terry Gilliam and Brazil

Well, I’ve just watched the proper version of Terry Gilliam’s movie Brazil, something I’ve wanted to do since Lime and I watched 12 Monkeys. I had serious doubts about being able to find it at any video shop in Korea, so I went ahead and downloaded it.

If you read through some of the different reviews and commentaries out there (here are a few: 1, 2, 3, 4, and a particularly interesting one at #5), brazil.jpgyou get so many references thrown at you: “modernity”, Saussure, Weber, Citizen Kane, A Clockwork Orange, Kafka, Orwell’s 1984, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, and so many others.

All of these references, of course, are workable. I wouldn’t want to even consider which ones Gilliam intended, because they all seem to make sense. Rather, It’s prefer just to make a couple of small comments.

First off, I don’t get why people think it’s so confusing. It’s not so very confusing to me. In fact, it seems rather timely to me. I’m betraying my post-1970 North American background, so pardon me: paranoia about “terrorists” for me isn’t exactly new—I do remember some hostage crises America had to muddle through when I was a kid—but having just traveled in America recently, the paird insanity and inefficiency which you see a movie like Brazil is so very much a reality now, that it feels more timely than it ever could have been in 1985, when the film was made. Artists and writers have been warning us for decades about how politicians will use fear—especially the fear of terrorists—to tear our rights and freedoms from us. It’s as if it were right there in the rules that came with the postwar democracy gameboard. But like good Westerners, most people haven’t read the packaging, haven’t studied the rules of the game, much less the standard and well-known strategies. And so, well, it looks to me like The People of America, anyway, are going to lose this round of the game, sadly, to Bush and his Cronies. And the same kinds of anti-civil rights moves as you see in “The Patriot Act” have been made by politicians in Canada, in Britian, and elsewhere. It’s sad, and sadly un-Patriotic of these people to do this to their countries.

Secondly, I don’t understand how anyone could ever think that a happy ending of this movie could be made that could be anything other than crap. I haven’t seen the “Love Conquers All” version of the movie, but it sounds atrocious. Can you imagine 1984 with a happy ending? Casablanca? It just doesn’t work. Why would Hollywood think Americans are too dumb to grapple with difficult, strange, challenging movies? Does this kind of “re-editing” go on still? (I mean, besides renaming Harry Potter films and books for the most ridiculous reasons…)

Oh, yeah, Brazil. Great film. Go watch it.

One thought on “Terry Gilliam and Brazil

  1. Funny how using one combination of fear and violence to grab power is called terrorism while using a slightly different combination of fear and violence to grab power is called patriotism. *Hurk.*

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