Dusting Off... Brazil
What is it?
Released in 1985, Brazil is the fourth feature film directed by former Month Python animator Terry Gilliam, and the second film in his so-called Trilogy of Imagination, along with 1981's Time Bandits and 1988's The Adventures of Baron Münchhausen. The three films are intended to represent the different 'ages of man' – childhood, adulthood and old age.
As the second of these films, Brazil stars Jonathan Pryce as Sam Lowry, a middle-aged and very ordinary government employee living in a retro-futuristic world where bureaucracy has reached new and ridiculous heights. Lowry does his best to blend in and be ignored, content in his job as a filing clerk for the Ministry of Information, even refusing a promotion engineered by his wealthy and well-connected mother, much to the relief of his nervous and incompetent boss, Mr. Katzmann (Ian Holm).
But there's a problem; Lowry is becoming infatuated with a woman he keeps seeing in his dreams. When a clerical mix-up results in Lowry visiting a woman to deliver a cheque intended for her deceased husband, he discovers that one of her neighbours is the very same woman he keeps dreaming about, but when she disappears before he can speak to her he becomes obsessed with trying to track her down.
In order to gain access to the information he needs, he accepts the promotion and sets about finding her, only to discover she is wanted by the government because they suspect her of being one the terrorists responsible for a series of bombings in the city. Lowry decides to risk everything to try find her and escape from the governments clutches, but first he needs to gain her trust.
Why should I revisit?
Gilliam's films are some of the most imaginative we’ve seen on the big screen and Brazil is every bit as nightmarish as 1984 or anything based on a Philip K. Dick novel, but Gilliam’s natural playfulness adds humour to a very dark, neo-futuristic setting, so it never gets too heavy. It does get weird though…
The cast is also pretty impressive, with Robert De Niro and Bob Hoskins adding to the already mentioned names above, as well as Gilliam’s former Python colleague Michael Palin.
Who will enjoy it?
If you’ve enjoyed his other films like Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas, 12 Monkeys or The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, but have yet to check out some his more surreal, earlier films, the Trilogy of Imagination is where the gold is and Brazil is the best of the bunch.