Search This Blog

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Aquarela do Brasil

I'm honestly quite surprised I haven't talked about this before, given that it the greatest dystopian film of all time, as well as being one of the best comedy films of all time. It was made in 1984 by Terry Gilliam and its visuals were described as "1980s from the 1940s perspective". It is a movie that delights in bureaucracy and was somewhat ironically muddled in it during production. It is the best kind of comedy because it doesn't state its jokes, they're just there if you care to pay attention, and if you don't well, you were none the wiser anyway.

The film concentrates on surreal imagery, and some of that was definitely the David Bowie-esque dream sequences involving that lovely flying man shown on the poster. The main character is stuck at the bottom rung of the government, and perfectly happy to be there, though everyone except his boss insists he's better than that, and his mother attempts to get him promoted through her overbearing parenthood. But enough about that the plot, after the dream sequence and an advertisement for ducts we cut to what begins the film, a typo. A silly person swats a fly which lands in the typewriter that issues every request for arrest resulting in once innocent man dying, another being driven insane, and a family being broken apart. Typos kill kids, it's the main message of the movie.

So we find our dream sequence guy late for work in the real world, because of his constantly breaking electronics, a theme which echoes through the film, as nothing ever quite works right. He rushes off and attempts to sort out the typo, by sending documents this way and that but the bureaucracy refuses to let him. So the typo resulted in a swat team assaulting the misprinted name, Buttle's, house but unfortunately the family was overcharged for their endeavor, so someone has to make sure that there is no error and this, and that someone will get some of the money back. Buttle is killed despite the fact that he was the wrong guy, but can't have a little money just lying around can we?

But this just segues into the main plot, our protagonist searching for the girl of his dreams, literally. To accomplish this he needs to accept a promotion, and move up to the ever imposing Ministry of Information. It's just as busy and muddled with paperwork and forms upon forms to fill out other forms, but he does get the information he wants with little trouble, though he is forced to contend with a fellow stealing his desk through the wall, and a seemingly deserted imposing building that suddenly filled with people before they moved off again. Like a horde of sheep, but the sheep have more brains.

So with all the paperwork signed, he can go off and find his dream girl, which he does but not after being kicked out of her cab, twice. Though his home has become the dawn of the new ice age, a friendly heating engineer played  by Robert De Niro can help out, and successfully fills the two thugs who had been tormenting him with shit. So sometimes it's not the most subtle movie, but it gets the point across. Now with this dream girl he manages to have one night of true happiness, after declaring her head.

Unfortunately some people didn't get the message, so were still looking for her, and managed to find and kill her, again. At least that's what the paperwork says, and if there's an error its not my department. So after being found guilty of numerous crimes, including but not limited to:iving aid and comfort to the enemies of society, attempting to conceal a fugitive from justice, passing confidential documents to unauthorized personnel, destroying government property, viz. several personnel carriers, taking possession under false pretenses of said carriers, forging the signature of the Head of Records, misdirecting funds in the form of a check to A. Buttle through unauthorized channels, tampering with Central Services supply ducts, obstructing forces of law and order in the exercise of their duty, disregarding the good name of the government and the Department of Information Retrieval, attempting to disrupt the Ministry's internal communicating system and worst of all wasting Ministry time and paper.

With that all said and done he gets sent to something like an insane asylum, where he is accosted by a previous friend dressed as Santa Claus in what is actually one of the less weird parts of the end of the film. Then he is sent to be tortured by a man dressed in a baby mask, in a sequence that would haunt the dreams of many a little boy or girl who saw the film. But then they are saved by Robert De Niro, who incidentally didn't get payed for the film because he was on contract for another. They shoot, kill, and eventually escape, before De Niro is literally swallowed by paperwork, and  Sam and his love interest escape and live happily in a land of sunshine and rainbows.

That is how the American cut ended, as well as about half an hour of other stuff, including the dream sequences and more negative images as well. The real ending of course shows Sam back in the chair, fantasizing his happy ending as he had gone certifiably insane. It's not that bad or dreary of an ending, because at least he gets to live a happy life somewhere, something he never previously had. So that's Brazil, a masterpiece featuring some deeper themes, including the very nature of bureaucracy and some small comments on the over focus on consumerism of society, what with everyone giving Sam the gift of the same Executive toy, one which makes decisions for him, what a nice gift.

If I had to sum it up in one sentence, I'd say: Blade Runner meets Monty Python with a pinch of Alice in Wonderland as well. If that doesn't sound like a recommendation, then I may be insane, because that is what demented baby faces do to a person, any person, because they are terrifying beyond all sense. So with all that, see the film if you haven't, it's a classic for a reason, and if a Python directing and another one acting in it isn't enough, think of the demented babies screaming at you forever if you don't, because that is what happens.

No comments:

Post a Comment