Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Favorite Films: Brazil

Brazil is a complex film. It collects themes from the novel 1984 (also the year Brazil came out) and the film 8 1/2, but manages to throw these ideas through a loop and make an insane kind of sense out of them. I'd be remiss not to mention the absolute brilliance of this film. In fact, one could argue its poignancy comes from a recognition of the current state of things... this feeling has carried on into nearly four decades already. More than thirty years of honest correlation to current events in the world around us. Now that's a movie worth noting!

At this most recent screening (my third time ever watching) of the film (at New Beverly Cinema) there was presented a note from Terry Gilliam, the man behind the madness. In it he stated, (and I'm paraphrasing here) "It's a shame George Bush and Dick Cheney have left office, as I was in the process of filing a law suit against this particular presidency for the unabashed, illegal remake of my film, Brazil." And if you watch the flick, you'll see what he meant. Now this is all in jest, but it almost seems frightening to see some of the parallels between the world of Central Services and the current state of our country... and other countries around the world. I mean, how hard is it to get the government to do something?

*And I'm a fan of the current administration.*

But politics aside, this movie is beautiful in scope, camera work, design, performance, score... basically anything you can think of to make a film perfect. Jonathan Pryce, as Sam Lowry, is superb. Robert De Niro as Tuttle is one of the more surprisingly fun roles I can recall seeing him perform. And with a supporting cast like Ian Holm, Bob Hoskins (that's right Ian Holm and Bob Hoskins featured in the same movie!! Brain! exploding! now!), and Michael Palin who could ask for anything more?
If ever a dream (or nightmare) came to life on screen, it's in Brazil!

The List So Far:
1927 - Metropolis - Fritz Lang
1928 - Steamboat Willie - Ub Iwerks
1931 - M - Fritz Lang
1932 - Tarzan, The Ape Man - W. S. Van Dyke
1933 - King Kong - Merian C. Cooper +
1934 - It Happened One Night - Frank Capra
1957 - Funny Face - Stanley Donen
1984 - Brazil - Terry Gilliam
1986 - Labyrinth - Jim Henson

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