BRAZIL (1985)

This week's "Christmas-adjacent" movie is a real feel-good holiday classic: Terry Gilliam's Brazil, from 1985. 

First, we're having a preliminary conversation about some troubling comments Gilliam has made recently, and about what happens when cheeky young provocateurs become cranky old establishment figures.

Then, we're sitting down for Nakea's first viewing of Brazil, and a fairly depressing discussion of surveillance states, dehumanizing bureaucracies, disastrous plastic surgery, sinister heating ducts, Consumers for Christ, scary baby masks, and whether our present-day reality is actually much, much worse than Gilliam's dystopian vision of the future. 

Happy Christmas, everyone. We're all in it together. 


0:00: Prologue: from Brazil (1985)
0:38: Preliminary Conversation: Intro, Apology, and The Trouble with Terry
12:05: Interlude: Original Trailer
14:06: Cultural Osmosis: Pre-Viewing Discussion
23:33: Interlude: Scene from Brazil
24:24: The Verdict: Post-Viewing Discussion
1:05:40: Outro and Next Week's Movie
1:06:33: Outtake

Notes and Links

—Movie Reviewed: Brazil (dir. Terry Gilliam, Fox & Universal, 1985)
—Articles Mentioned and Referenced:  "Terry Gilliam on diversity: 'I tell the world now I’m a black lesbian,'" The Guardian; "Terry Gilliam has Some Controversial Opinions about Harvey Weinstein and #MeToo," Julie Miller, Vanity Fair; Documentary What is Brazil; "Duct Soup: The Daffy, Dystopian Design Nightmare of Terry Gilliam’s ‘Brazil’," Cinephilia & Beyond; "How Terry Gilliam Found a Happy Ending for Brazil," Leslie Bennetts, NY Times;  review of Brazil by Pauline Kael
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—Tchaikovsky's "Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy" by Kevin MacLeod is licensed under CC BY 3.0

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4 thoughts on “BRAZIL (1985)”

  1. That era was more notorious than most for studio executives taking films away from their directors and re-cutting them to their detriment, or otherwise intimidating the directors into maiming the films themselves. It happened to Ridley Scott for two films in a row, "Blade Runner" and "Legend," the latter suffering the loss of Jerry Goldsmith's symphonic and choral masterwork which was blamed in part for bad test screenings. Another infamous case from the period was Sergio Leone's "Once Upon a Time in America." Blake Edwards' revenge picture against Hollywood (the title of which seemed to cause WordPress to block my comment) was largely about this issue.

    I long ago bought Jack Matthews' book, "The Battle of Brazil", and admire Terry Gilliam for standing up to the studio. Though it's perplexing why Gilliam would try to defend Harvey Weinstein, given that Weinstein violated not only women, but also foreign films for which he purchased the US distribution rights and had his way with them, much like what Sid Sheinberg had wanted to do with "Brazil." For one such film, "Snowpiercer," which bears stylistic and thematic similarities to Gilliam's work, director Bong Joon-ho fought Weinstein much like Gilliam had fought Sheinberg and eventually got the uncut version released.

      1. I thought that was why WordPress wasn't working, but it didn't seem to work with the revised comment either. When commenting on other reviews, a comment, once submitted, appears saying it is awaiting moderation, but attempts to comment on "Brazil" just vanished.

        I ended up using the Facebook comment plugin instead. Sorry about that causing it to appear twice.

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