26. "Like many films about postmodernity..." In response to In response to 0 Sun Dec-31-06 12:08 AM by Nettrice
Brazil begins with a fairy tale/fantasy. The protagonist, Sam Lowry, is an angel/warrior who saves the damsel-in-distress (Jill) and the world from destruction. The dream is an eternal desire, the last wish of a brain dead man. In reality Sam Lowry is a casualty, not a hero.
In his films Gilliam loves to comment on prisons, both of the mind and the body. His cinematic prisons are institutions and the urban environment. The bad guys are bureaucrats and administrators who are so devoid of emotion and humanity that they appear robotic in their movements and interactions. The good guys are living off the grid (labeled terrorists...hmmmm).
Starting with a dream we are able to see that Sam is more than a robot. His desire is the desire of any person stuck in a maze (or a cubicle).
This is why I like this film.
Brazil is an example of postmodernity much like Blade Runner and others but it does not give us a vision of a post-apocalyptic world. This is a world we already live in, a possible world we could all live in if we give into corporations, over-population, and technology (which has not progressed since 1975). Like Blade Runner Brazil shows us the world miles and miles above the surface of the planet. 12 Monkeys turns the world 180 degrees; the people live under the surface. In these films the sky, nature is non-existent. In Brazil class (and race) are nonexistent...where's the lower class?
This is why I don't like the film.
In Brazil the only escape is lobotomy that renders the person trapped forever in a dream (in his mind). This film compresses space and time, so that in the beginning we are not aware of where we are in the story. Are we in a mythic fantasy or the ugly retro-future world? As the film progresses we realize that Sam Lowry is reluctantly being forced off the grid, so to speak, by a administrative mistake not of his making. He just wants to do the right thing and get the girl.
I love Brazil because it reminds me of a choice I made as the child of a computer programmer. I never wanted to work in a cubicle and I never wanted to be a bureaucrat. I was sad when Harry Tuttle gets erased by the excess (paper) of the world. This is when I realized that Lowry's mind was someplace else. What I was watching was not real.