Friday, January 23, 2009

Brazil (1985)

Brazil (1985) is from director and co-screenwriter Terry Gilliam - a combination science-fiction, despairing black comedy and fantasy that combines elements of Fritz Lang's Metropolis (1927), Kubrick's Dr. Strangelove (1964), Fahrenheit 451 (1966), George Orwell's novel 1984 (and director Michael Radford's 1984 (1984) that opened at about the same time), Kafka's The Trial, Anthony Burgess' A Clockwork Orange (and Kubrick's A Clockwork Orange (1971)), and Ridley Scott's Blade Runner (1982). Throughout this superb film that satirizes modern technological society, one can glimpse numerous government propaganda signs, billboards, posters and writings that preach conformity and Big Brother wariness - all references to Orwell's 1984. [The signs are credited to co-scriptwriter Charles McKeown.] Police are represented as storm troopers (Nazi-like), and the names of two major officials have stereotypical German names: Kurtzmann and Helpmann. The influential film's enigmatic title refers to the popular Latin song from the late 1930s by Arry Barroso, often used as an escapist theme in the orchestral soundtrack (by Michael Kamen). Other titles were considered for the film: The Ministry of Torture, 1984 1/2 (homage to Fellini's 8 1/2), and How I Learned to Live with the System - So Far. The normal workers in society are docile, powerless, and obedient - to avoid calling attention to themselves and ending up eradicated (literally and figuratively) from the files in the Ministry of Information's flawed computer system.

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