Terry Gilliam’s Brazil is – pardon my French – bat merde insante. It is also one of my favourite movies ever. The erstwhile Monty Python’s Flying Circus member has made that level of creative insanity his trademark, but with the exception of The Adventures of Baron Munchausen has never flipped his cinematic lid quite as severely since (though 12 Monkeys and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas certainly get close).
That may just change with The Zero Theorem, Gilliam’s latest, though, which appears to be spinning a trippy yarn of love and desire, theoretical mathematics, the meaning of existence and Matt Damon. Maybe.
A trailer for the film was recently shown at Comic-Con, but alas has not yet been made available to the public. What has been released though is the video Gilliam made that played before the trailer and which was used to introduce the film to the Comic-Con crowds. It’s a fantastic little video that completely sets the mood for exactly what type of movie this is going to be.
Along with that video, Gilliam also issued a new statement (via The Film Stage) that elaborates on how The Zero Theorem is sort of a spiritual successor Brazil, and how the limitations of the filmmaking process actually sparked some creativity.
“When I made Brazil in 1984, I was trying to paint a picture of the world I thought we were living in then. The Zero Theorem is a glimpse of the world I think we are living in now. Pat Rushin’s script intrigued me with the many existential ideas he had incorporated into his funny, philosophic, and touching tale. For example: What gives meaning to our lives, brings us happiness? Can we ever be alone in our increasingly connected and constricted world? Is that world under control or simply chaotic? We’ve tried to make a film that is honest, funny, beautiful, and surprising; a simple film about a complex modern man waiting for a call to give meaning to his life; about inescapable relationships and the longing for love, full of quirky characters and sparkling performances; raising questions without offering obvious answers. Hopefully, it’s unlike any film you have seen recently; no zombies, no caped crusaders or alien spacecraft. Actually, I might have lied about that last item. Having not worked with a budget this small for several decades, I was forced to work fast and instinctively, pressured only by time and money. We relied on the freedom to spin on a dime, to make outrageous creative leaps. The results surprised even me. I’m proud to have been part of The Zero Theorem.”
Reinforcing that “spiritual” connection to Brazil is the film’s newly released poster (and to some extent, the first image above) which certainly evokes that same “jerry-rigged future filled with mad men” look that Brazil pulled off so brilliantly.
Besides for Christoph Waltz and Matt Damon (no, seriously, he’s in this) The Zero Theorem also features the acting talents of Tilda Swinton, David Thewlis, Ben Whishaw, Peter Stormare, Sanjeev Bhaskar and Melanie Thierry. There are no release dates set for the film yet (Aw phooey!) but it will be making its debut in two weeks time at the Venice Film Festival.
THE ZERO THEOREM revolves around an eccentric and reclusive computer genius (two-time Oscar winner Christoph Waltz) plagued with existential angst who works on a mysterious project aimed at discovering the purpose of existence or the lack thereof once and for all. However, it is only once he experiences the power of love and desire that he is able to understand his very reason for being.
Last Updated: August 23, 2013