Brazil came out a year after the much-lauded film adaptation of 1984, the most widely known tale warning of a dystopian future. But in 1984 Big Brother and The Party are at the root of all the misery. In Brazil it is mostly self-inflicted: a dull, drab world driven by technology, consumerism and the rat race. Bureaucracy is everywhere and the only way to get anything done is to go off the books, like hiring a freelance air conditioner repairman/terrorist. Everyone is obsessed with looks and success, a fitting parody of the promises modern society has not always delivered on.
In the movie Sam Lowry is a mild-mannered government employee who does his job and follows the rules that are supposed to make you happy. But he is miserable. It doesn’t help that he keeps having great dreams of flying with giant wings and meeting a mysterious woman. After a printer malfunction accidentally sends the wrong person to death, Lowry has to go see the widow. There he discovers that the widow’s neighbor is the woman of his dreams, but she has been branded a terrorist for reporting the printing error – the world would rather eliminate all evidence of the mistake than admit there ever was one.
From here on it becomes strange, true to Gilliam’s style. Brazil stands out as among his most insightful works. Today the film’s themes run stronger than ever as we surround ourselves ever more with technology and consumerism to avoid the mundane vibe of our society. Next time you tap away on your laptop in a cubicle, maybe ponder if you are not Sam Lowry: bored and uninspired by a boring and uninspiring world full of distractions and little else…[/column] [column size=one_half position=last ] [/column]
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Last Updated: September 8, 2014