Terry Gilliam month at The Frida continues with the dystopic, sci-fi satire Brazil. As a comic take on the suffocating effect of vogonian bureaucracy on people, it’s reinforced by the fact that Gilliam himself had to fight the studio executives in order to get the movie released with the original ending in mind. With remarkable visuals inspired from German expressionism, (influencing a host of movies like Batman, Super Mario Bros, The Fifth Element, and Dark City), Brazil tells the story of a society lost in between bureaucracy and consumerism, where terrorist bombings are treated as a nuisance and one’s life can literally be consumed by paperwork.
Jonathan Pryce stars as Sam Lowry, a low-level bureaucrat struggling to navigate the boundaries between reality and his own daydreams. He gets caught up in a scandal in which a typo led to a man’s death, when he recognizes a woman from his recurring daydreams (played by Kim Greist) at his office, trying in vain to correct the government’s mistake. Life starts to spiral out of control as his own air conditioning attacks him, he gets mixed up with a renegade repair man, played by Robert De Niro, and becomes a fugitive from his own employer.
Brazil is a dark maze of satire that could only have been made in the ’80s, and was also named best movie of the year by Los Angeles Film Critics Association before it was even released. Terry Gilliam month would not be complete without this opus of absurdity. Get your tickets today!
“It’s like a stoned, slapstick 1984: a nightmare comedy in which the comedy is just an aspect of the nightmarishness.” – Pauline Kael, New Yorker
“Gilliam crams the screen with such a proliferation of bizarre and comic details that you’ll want to revisit this particular nightmare again and again.” – Jason Best, Movie Talk
“A glimmering hunk of fractured brilliance riddled with Orwellian paranoia encased in a production design seemingly pieced together from the shared dreams of Franz Kakfa and Salvador Dali.” – Wesley Morris, San Francisco Examiner