Dec 28, 2015
Somewhat pathetically but not surprisingly, at least to me, it has been such a longtime since I have been truly in the Christmas spirit that I literally cannot remember the last time that I got a natural high from things like Xmas lights, eggnog, nutcrackers, chocolate covered cherries, the smell of fresh pine needles, and incessant re-watching of seasonal classics like A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965) and Bob Clark’s A Christmas Story (1983), so naturally I decided that I would watch a film during this so-called ‘holiday season’ that would be more in tune with my more morose and misanthropic than merry spirit. While I initially settled upon attempting to warp my brain with old school American avant-garde works like Gregory J. Markopoulos’ Christmas USA (1949) and Barbara Rubin’s Christmas On Earth (1963 - 1965), the former proved to be too arcane and had virtually nothing to do with Xmas and the latter was nothing more than completely worthless and uniquely unsexy Jewish aberrosexual anti-Christmas agitprop porn, so I decided that I needed to watch something with a more nostalgic quality, thus leading me to revisiting the keenly kaleidoscopic and scathingly satirical dystopian epic Brazil (1985) directed by proud lapsed American Terry Gilliam (12 Monkeys, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus), which is not only set during a particular mirthfully morbid Christ’s Mass, but is also a work that I incidentally first saw for the first time exactly twelve years ago during a remarkably miserable Yule. Admittedly Gilliam is a filmmaker that I have always had mixed feelings about, but after re-watching what I would describe as his unequivocal magnum opus, I cannot deny that it is a somewhat shockingly timeless cult classic that has only gotten more relevant since when it was first released three decades ago and, quite thankfully, surely only gets better with each subsequent viewing. Surely, Gilliam’s greatest talent as a filmmaker also seems his greatest weakness as sort of Anglo-American Fellini (in fact, the film once had the somewhat more fitting working title 1984 ½, which was in tribute to both Orwell’s 1949 novel of the same name and Fellini’s autobiographical masterpiece 8½ (1963)) whose films are oftentimes too visually overwrought and aesthetically decadent to the point of completely burying the storyline, but Brazil ultimately proves to be a nearly immaculate combination of visuals and storyline as the sort of rather ideal big budget film that Hollywood might regularly produce if Americans did not tolerate regularly consuming celluloid shit and the studio heads and producers were not a bunch of culture-distorting parasites that look at the general public as a group of collectively retarded ADHD-ridden toddlers.
An arguable piece of decidedly decadent defeatist dystopia where the true horror is not in the form of an ominous Big Brother figure but instead a sort of ludicrously labyrinthine pre-apocalyptic bureaucracy and absurdly pernicious self-perpetuating machine that exists solely for the nihilistic purpose of propagating itself and its own cancerous growth and, not unlike most far-leftist collectivist governments, thrives on enemies (e.g. terrorists) and its own failure (e.g. the rise of crime and poverty) to sustain its seemingly perennial growth, the film is certainly more relevant today than ever in a seemingly pre-apocalyptic age where American's phony double-bastard mulatto puppet president's solution to the rapid decline of the country is creating more worthless bureaucratic government programs and flooding the country with racially hostile rabble from the third world who just happen to be the same sort of people that are waging an international terror campaign against the country. Set in a completely culturally vacant, innately materialistic, emotionally barren, and spectacle and slogan oriented retrofuturist pandemonium that is simultaneously anachronistic in both a sort of Dickensian and Rockwellian fashion (among other retro cinematic influences ranging from German Expressionism to Charlie Chaplin's Modern Times (1936) to 1940s/1950s film noir) and ominously Orwellian in an almost grotesquely cartoonish way (in fact, Gilliam, who has always maintained that the film depicts the present and not some foreseeable future, once described the film as a “political cartoon”), Brazil—a virtual popcorn movie for cultural pessimists—tells the fairly aesthetically pleasing tale of a hopelessly naïve dreamer of the day that gets immersed in a real-life nightmare after unwisely getting involved in rectifying the wrongful government-ordained death of a poor prole and ultimately encountering by happenstance a butch babe that he somewhat preposterously believes is the literal woman of his dreams. A quite apt antidote to the putrid piece of true celluloid dystopia Star Wars: Episode VII (2015) directed by pernicious kosher culture-distorter and human-gargoyle J.J. Abrams, Gilliam's gorgeously grotesque masterpiece is ultimately a fantasy film for people who, like myself, hate most fantasy films because they act as sort of Huxleyan celluloid soma for overweight lemmings and virginal fanboys. Indeed, Brazil is one of the few fantasy flicks that you can watch without potentially succumbing to the guilt or pathetic weakness of embracing mindless fanboy twaddle, as an eccentric piece of aesthetically and narratively erratic anti-escapism that ultimately tricks the viewer into embracing the unfortunate reality of the forlorn present and the all the more fiercely foreboding future.
Set in a unnamed technocratic anarcho-tyranny “somewhere in the 20th Century” that seems like a parody of 1950s America as sodomized senselessly by the sad and pathetic ultra-P.C. post-European surveillance state that is modern-day multicultural England, Brazil begins with a Christmas time terrorist explosion that blows away a guy dressed like a film noir extra that is pushing a car full of worthless junk. After the explosion, an elderly wheelchair-bound cripple named Mr. Helpmann (Peter Vaughan, who is probably best known nowadays as Maester Aemon on HBO's Game of Thrones (2011-2015))—a happy-go-lucky pseudo-paternal dictator of bureaucracy that has the distinguished title of ‘Deputy Minister of Information’—declares on public television that, in regard to the mysterious terrorist bombing, it is purely the result of, “Bad sportsmanship. A ruthless minority of people seem to have forgotten good old-fashioned virtues. They just can't stand seeing the other fellow win. If these people would just play the game.” Indeed, not unlike contemporary America and Western Europe where people are legally forced to pretend that all people, no matter how savage or sexually/morally degenerate, are ‘equal’ and where you can be completely socially ostracized and/or even be imprisoned for sharing unpopular ideas, Brazil is set in a wholly socially engineered nightmare realm where one either has to be an automaton or sociopath to get ahead as success is based purely off of the ability and willingness of the individual to follow all of the rules of the game, no matter how absurd and self-debasing. Hapless protagonist Sam Lowry (Jonathan Pryce of Glengarry Glen Ross (1992) and Christopher Hampton’s Carrington (1995)) is vaguely more admirable than most people, as he begrudgingly plays the game just enough so that he can get by and sustain himself, even though his slutty mother, Mrs. Ida Lowry (Katherine Helmond), is a socially prestigious society woman that is a longtime friend of bigwig Mr. Helpmann and could easily get him a decent job as a member of the supper echelons of the bureaucratic machine. As a man that seems to be passively revolted by everything about his society, Sam prefers to hide in a cramped office and engage in abstract paper-shuffling as a mid-level white collar serf. When Sam’s mother uses her connections to get him a nice employment offer, he initially turns it down, but he later changes his mind after a series of situations that lead him to devoting all of his time, effort, and resources to hunting down the woman of his dreams. Unfortunately for Sam, his love interest is a suspected terrorist, thus it is only a matter of time before he and she are swallowed up by the machine after attempting to consummate a love affair in a loveless world where romantic relationships are nothing more than cold and strategic business transactions.
Sam is a fairly physically and intellectually unimpressive fellow with no ambition and a somewhat passive-aggressive mentality who prefers to rot in an office than to grab life by the balls and make something great out of himself. The only source of solace that Sam has in his life is his dreams where he is a sort a classically heroic angel-knight with heavenly cloud-caressing wings who regularly saves and embraces the woman-of-his-dreams/damsel-in-distress (Kim Greist). Unbeknownst to Sam, there is actually a real-life sub-lumpenprole dame with a dyke haircut named Jill Layton (also Kim Greist in a performance that Gilliam was quite dissatisfied with) who looks exactly the same as the woman-of-his-dreams, albeit she is somewhat dirtier and remarkably less feminine. At the beginning of the film, Jill bears witness to the violent window-smashing and door-crashing nightmare arrest of her downstairs neighbor Mr. Archibald Buttle (Brian Miller) by a brigade of rather robotic Gestapo-esque thugs that sport all-black futuristic SWAT gear. Indeed, as a result of an absurd technical malfunction involving a fly getting jammed in a printer and accidentally printing the name ‘Buttle’ instead that of a supposed terrorist named Archibald ‘Harry’ Tuttle (Robert De Niro in arguably the most bizarre role of his career as the true hero of the film), the quite literally poor family man is arrested and ultimately mysteriously murdered while under interrogation for a dubious crime he did not actually commit. Sam is a mid-level officer clerk and as a favor to his weak, meek, and pathetic boss Mr. Kurtzmann (Ian Holm of Ridley Scott’s Alien (1979)), the protagonist agrees to travel to the post-industrial ghetto where Mr. Buttle’s wife lives and personally deliver to her an ‘overcharge receipt’ in an attempt to fix the ‘clerical error.’ Indeed, in the absurdist realm of Brazil, criminals are expected to pay for their own arrests, but since Mr. Buttle was accidentally arrested, his widow is owed a monetary refund. After surviving a virtual urban battlefield where barbaric little kids rob and kidnap other barbaric little kids with machineguns, Sam manages to arrive at the Buttle’s apartment, which is located inside an architectural monstrosity known as Shangri-La tower, and is quite disturbed at the sight of a grieving Mrs. Buttle, who screams at the protagonist, “He hadn’t done anything. He was good. What have you done with his body?” and then begins crying hysterically. After Mrs. Buttle’s grade school son abruptly attacks Sam, the protagonist is in for the joyous shock of a lifetime when he randomly catches the reflection of the woman-of-his-dreams in a broken piece of a mirror, though she unfortunately runs away before he can actually catch up with her. After unwittingly talking to Mr. Buttle’s daughter, who is waiting in the street in vain for her father to come home, Sam learns that the woman-of-his-dreams is named ‘Jill Layton.’
Much to the chagrin of his revoltingly effete boss Kurtzmann, who almost seems to have homoerotic feelings for the protagonist, Sam decides to accept the job offer at ‘Information Retrieval’ because he believes it will give him the technical resources he needs to dig up more information about Jill and her seemingly dangerous background. Unfortunately for Sam, Kurtzmann has forged a rejection letter for the job, so the protagonist opts attend a party at the lavish home of Mr. Helpmann, who surely can use his unique power as Deputy Minister of Information to get him the new position. Luckily, Sam’s cosmetic-surgery-obsessed high-class whore mother, who is regularly followed be her fittingly Judaic named surgeon Dr. Jaffe (Jim Broadbent), is more than willing to help procure distinguished employment for her loser son via Herr Helpmann. Ultimately, Sam reduces himself to the level of helping handicapped Übermensch Helpmann take a leak in a urinal and even zipping up his fly, but it is a small price for him to pay to get closer to tracking down Jill. As Helpmann (pseudo)sentimentally states to the protagonist during their meeting, Sam’s father was once his boss and best friend before a dubious terrorist bombing cut his life short. Strangely, Helpmann describes Sam’s dead father as always been in his presence, even going so far as to describe him as, “A ghost in the machine.” Unfortunately, Sam is also on his way to becoming a tragic phantom in the technocratic penitentiary.
Clearly completely unaware of what he is really up against or the fact that he is being regularly followed and monitored by shadowy figures in trench-coats, Sam does not think twice of befriending ostensible terrorist Archibald ‘Harry’ Tuttle when he randomly drops by his apartment after intercepting a call that the protagonist makes to report that his air-conditioner is broken. Harry is a sort of anarchic electrician who seemingly works for free and when Sam foolishly asks him why he just does not get a normal official position with the government, he proudly expresses his seething hatred for paperwork and sums up his overall Weltanschauung as follows, “I came into this game for the action…the excitement. Go anywhere, travel light, get in, get out…wherever there’s trouble…a man alone. Now, they’ve got the whole country sectioned off…you can’t move without a form.” While Harry swiftly fixes Sam’s air-conditioner, two vindictive government workers (one of which is notably played by Bob Hoskins of the decidedly dumb dystopian dud Super Mario Bros. (1993)) from ‘Central Services’ later completely destroy it in revenge against the protagonist for asking them for the appropriate paperwork. Sam ultimately makes a mysterious mistake by befriending Harry, as his new comrade has been officially classified as a wanted renegade terrorist by the very same government bureaucracy that the protagonist has just has begun working for. Ever since Sam decided to break protocol and personally visit Mrs. Buttle to give her the overcharge receipt, he has been being followed by a mysterious figure in a trench-coat who has been keeping tabs on everything he has done, including his attempts to find information about Jill, who has also been designated a fugitive terrorist as a result of running her mouth about the wrongful arrest and death of Mr. Buttle. As a previously quite apathetic mensch that is now obsessively in love with a woman that he faithfully worships, Sam naturally does not have much time to pay attention to small details like his quite sinister surroundings, even if it could result in his arrest or even death, or so he eventually learns after unwittingly poking his nose in a pernicious place that it does not belong.
As a deleteriously naïve chap that does not have a single emotional connection with anyone, Sam is completely oblivious to the fact that his longtime best friend Jack Lint (Monty Python regular Michael Palin) is a seemingly psychopathic opportunist who is responsible for interrogating and torturing suspected terrorists. As a fairly successful extrovert and obscenely opportunistic go-getter that is married with children and is wholly willing to utilize his glacial charms in his ruthless mission to abide to the rules of the bureaucratic game for personal gain, even when it involves coldblooded murder, Jack is the complete opposite of an introverted underachiever like Sam, who opts to do the bare minimum to get by and would prefer it if no one acknowledged of his pathetic existence. After beginning his new job at Information Retrieval where Jack also works, Sam foolishly questions his phony friend about Jill and Tuttle and even asks him if he is responsible for the death of Mr. Buttle. Although he does not deny killing Tuttle, Jack refuses to take responsibility for his death, snidely stating to Sam, “Information Transit got the wrong man. I got the *right* man. The wrong one was delivered to me as the right man, I accepted him on good faith as the right man. Was I wrong? It wasn’t my fault that Buttle’s heart condition didn’t appear on Tuttle’s file.” Jack describes Tuttle as being involved with the questionable crime of “freelance subversion” and then accuses Jill of being a terrorist, stating, “She witnessed the Tuttle—Buttle arrest. It seems she’s been going around making wild allegations, obviously trying to exploit the situation. She’s working for someone, and I don’t think it’s us.” While Sam manages to coerce Jack into giving him Jill’s government file, he ultimately does not need it as he subsequently finds his lady love at the front-desk of the Information Retrieval building where he narrowly saves her from getting arrested by some gun-wielding NKVD-esque thugs.
While one would assume that Jill might be at least somewhat thankful to Sam for saving her from being imprisoned and even potentially killed, she immediately attempts to run away from him after he gets her to safety. Of course, hopeless loverboy Sam is persistent and manages to jump inside Jill truck where he proceeds to absurdly declare his love for her, stating in a fairly neurotic fashion, “You won’t believe this…and…I know it’s going to sound incredible, but I’ve been dreaming about you. No, not like that. I mean, I love you. In my dreams, I love you.” Not surprisingly, Jill replies to Sam’s pathetic declaration of love by literally kicking him out of her truck while it is moving, though the protagonist manages to grab onto the side of the vehicle and write “I love you” with his finger on a dirty window. After nearly killing Sam, Jill eventually calms down and begins feeling sorry enough for him to cease her dangerously bitchy behavior. Needless to say, Jill is far from the warm, loving, and embracing angelic beauty from Sam's otherworldly dreams, but that does not stop the protagonist from believing that she is indeed the woman-of-his-dreams. Unfortunately, Sam soon begins suspecting that Jill is a terrorist when she takes him to a highly dangerous construction site where a strange fellow gives her a dubious package. When a terrorist attack later occurs at a shopping mall that they later opt to hideout at after killing a cop or two after a dramatic chase scene, Sam becomes quite hysterical and immediately blames Jill, only to soon realize that he is completely wrong. After attacking a boorish cop that manhandles Jill, Sam is predictably knocked out and arrested. While Sam is taken back to work instead of prison due to his prestigious government position, he is separated from Jill in the process and subsequently repeatedly verbally reamed by his boss and co-employees due to his questionable behavior. In fact, Sam’s so-called best friend Jack more or less tells him to fuck off, stating, “Sam, we’ve always been close, haven’t we? Well, until this all blows over, just stay away from me.” Naturally, as a man that is in love with a terrorist and friends with another, it is only a matter of time before Sam faces the cold wrath of the bureaucratic system due to his glaring incapacity to be like everyone else and “just play the game.”
When Jill pays him a visit at his apartment after work, Sam is naturally extremely overjoyed and decides to provide her with sanctuary by taking her to his mother’s lavish home. Since his mother is spending Christmas with her plastic surgeon, Sam has free reign over her apartment, which he believes will be a secure hideout for his lady-love. While Jill seems fully willingly to strip off her redneck dude wardrobe and finally share her carnal knowledge with Sam after he is thoughtful and caring enough to provide her with safety at his mother's flat, the protagonist decides that the long-awaited fuck session must be temporarily postponed until he can try everything within his means to protect his lover by going to Mr. Helpmann for help. While Helpmann is not there, Sam foolishly decides to hack into his boss’ computer and falsify Jill’s records to make it seem like she has died. When Sam gets back home, he is delighted to find Jill all dolled up just like the woman-of-his-dreams and then happily informs her, “You don’t exist anymore. I killed you. Jill Layton is dead.” Naturally, when Jill asks him, “Care for a little bit of necrophilia?,” Sam immediately eagerly jumps into bed with her and then the two proceed to assumedly make love. The next morning, Sam is exceedingly enthralled to find Jill in bed with him wearing nothing but a ribbon over her tits, but the fleshy fun comes to an ugly and violent end when a bunch of sinister SWAT team goons crash through the windows and arrest the lovers. After being arrested and knocked out in the process, Sam later awakens to finding himself hanging from a hook while trapped inside a sort of futuristic straitjacket while about half a dozen or so different lawyers give him questionable legal advice about such ludicrous things as pleading guilty to various charges so that he can save some money. Among other things, Sam has been charged with, “Wasting ministry time and paper.” After that, Sam is placed in a padded cell where he is visited by Mr. Helpmann, who is dressed in a Santa Claus outfit and generously offers him a bottle of, “barley water.” When Sam begs Helpmann to prove that he is worthy of his surname by helping him, the perennially smirking old fart replies, “I’m doing everything in my power…but the rules of the game are laid down. We all have to play by them. Even me.” Needless to say, Sam breaks down after Helpmann informs him that Jill was gunned down while supposedly attempting to resist arrest. After that, Sam is hauled to an extremely large, open, empty, and ominous cylindrical room to go undergo interrogation. When the finally interrogator arrives, Sam is shocked to see that it is his supposed friend Jack, who is attempting to hide his identity behind a creepy baby mask. After Sam begs him for mercy and cries, “I feel frightened,” Jack exposes his true psychopathic self by stating, “How do you think I feel? You shit.” Luckily for Sam, just before he undergoes some sort of torture method, an unseen terrorist puts a bullet in Jack’s brain and then Harry Tuttle and a band of terrorists/freedom-fighters subsequently magically appear and proceed to rescue the protagonist.
After escaping from Ministry headquarters and blowing up the entire building on the way out, Sam and Harry head to a local mall where the latter curiously disappears into thin air after being consumed by a mass of flying scraps of paper, thus hinting in a fairly obvious fashion that the entire situation might be a fantasy. Indeed, from there, Sam ends up at a lavish high-camp funeral for his mother's similarly cosmetic-surgery-addicted friend Mrs. Terrain and is frightened to discover that his mommy now looks exactly like Jill and is being fawned over by half a dozen handsome young gentlemen callers. After haphazardly falling into Mrs. Terrain’s open casket, Sam falls through a seemingly bottomless pitch black abyss that ultimately brings him to a fairly familiar urban nightmare realm from his dreams, which is covered in piles upon piles of post-industrial junk and inhabited by grotesque baby-faced monsters and a giant neon Kurosawan samurai beast. Luckily, Sam manages to evade the beastly beings via a pile of flex-ducts where he ultimately finds a door at the top that magically leads him to the trailer of Jill’s truck. From there, Jill drives Sam out of the city and the two begin a new simple traditional life upon taking refuge at a quaint trailer located in a perfectly pastoral fairytale-esque mountain region. Of course, as the viewer somewhat suspects, this all-too-happy-ending has nothing to do with reality. Indeed, from there, the film cuts back to the interrogation room where Mr. Helpmann states, “He’s got away from us, Jack” and Jack replies, “I’m afraid you’re right, Mr. Helpmann. He’s gone.” As it turns out, Sam has suffered virtually the same exact pathetic fate as Nietzsche and has succumbed to a sort of blissful insanity where he is depicted with a stupid smirk while humming the theme song “Brazil.”
Like any halfway decent piece of dystopian science fiction, Brazil is in many ways more relevant today than when it was first released, even if it completely fails to do what Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner (1982) by depicting the Occident as a virtual corpse that is being fed on by hordes of gutter-dwelling third world rabble who have replaced the indigenous Europid population (in fact, I did not notice a single non-white person in the entire film). There is also a great irony in the fact that Gilliam's film was produced by Israeli producer Arnon Milchan, who would reveal in late 2013 on Israeli TV that he was a real harbinger of dystopian times by bragging that he was a Mossad spy that engaged in espionage, big-ticket arms-dealing, and obtaining sensitive technology and materials for Israel's quite apocalyptic nuclear weapons program. While the mainstream media and American politicians constantly complain about how dangerous and horrific it would be for towelhead nations like Iran to obtain nuclear weapons, Israel already has them and various Israeli leaders have threatened to destroy the entire world, including their so-called allies in Europe, were the security of their nation to be compromised. Indeed, as Israeli military historian Martin Levi van Creveld once gleefully stated in regard to his Hebrew homeland's ominous Samson Option, “Most European capitals are targets for our [Israel's] air force....We have the capability to take the world down with us. And I can assure you that that will happen before Israel goes under.” In other words, Milchan's criminal deeds have helped to his give his nation the means to unleash a nuclear holocaust. Certainly, the fact that Milchan produced both Gilliam’s film and various other Hollywood dystopian works like David Fincher’s Fight Club (1999) only gives these films an all the more absurd and disturbing essence that makes it seem as if all sides have been compromised and that there is a controlled-opposition, hence why there are virtually no films that deal with the serious and oftentimes quite blatant issues that are contributing to a real-life dystopian world like so-called multiculturalism (translation: racial conquest), racial miscegenation, philo-Semitism (which is a spiritual virus that, as indicted by his memoir, Gilliam seems to suffer from), socially engineered sexual and cultural deracination, rampant culturally/racially suicidal altruism, political cuckoldry, spiritual retardation, and xenophilia/ethno-masochism, among other fairly flagrant yet rarely cinematically depicted social and cultural diseases that Hollywood has played a central role in promoting and incubating via Bernaysian manipulation of the American psyche. Of course, Brazil gets a number important things right in regard to the social decay and dysfunction of the modern age, including the corruption of religion (e.g. as reflected by a shot of a “Consumers for Christ” flag during a parade), inefficiency of technical efficiency, rise of postmodernism and cultural nihilism, gender inversion (while Sam is weak and passive, his lady love Jill is butch and aggressive) and disharmony between the sexes, trend of vain and superficial environmentalism (e.g. a petty old woman ruthlessly yells at Sam for dropping mere papers on the street even though the air is so bad that there are public oxygen dispensers), extreme pathological vanity (e.g. Sam’s mother’s plastic surgery addiction), the sexualization of children (e.g. a little girl played by Gilliam’s daughter Holly states to Sam in a quasi-salacious when he prepares to change his clothing, “Put it on, big boy. I won’t look at your willy”), social justice warrior style sloganing, thought crimes, and total intolerance from dissenting opinions, among other things.
As a result of recent experiences, I found the ending of Brazil to be extra putridly poignant, especially in regard to the quasi-catatonic protagonist humming to himself the eponymous theme song while looking like a blissful retard. Indeed, one day recently while I was at work, I noticed a less than sophisticated middle-aged co-worker loudly humming to himself a completely indecipherable mess that I assume was supposed to be some stupid pop rock song, only to encounter three or four other employees humming their own equally incoherent version of the same garbled mess over the course of the next couple of days, thus confirming to me that most people—not matter how intelligent or cultivated—have innate herd mentalities and tend to mindlessly consume and pantomime whatever worthless garbage that passes their general orbit. Of course, the most obvious example of this is how it seems to be a favorite pastime of Americans to quote stupid movie lines, even if they do not understand and/or have never seen the movie in question (after all, it seems that very few of the people that use the classic Hollywood insult “schmuck” in their vocabulary realize that it is actually Yiddish slang for “penis”). While the tendency of individuals to both consciously and subconsciously copy other people is surely an ancient survival instinct, the mainstream media, radio, television, Hollywood, and even public schools exploit these instincts and infect the masses with these self-destructive trends. Certainly, stupid yet catchy pop songs are excellent tools for putting a population under a sort of collective spell so that they will make for loyal and unquestioning worker bees that will tolerate being regularly shit and pissed on, as the music acts as an unconscious reflex that provides emotional support during times of stress or anxiety, with the protagonist of Brazil experiencing such a brutal degree of psychological trauma that his mind completely deteriorates and he falls into this escapist reflex permanently. As Gilliam’s film reveals, while the West may be an extremely overpopulated place where ‘teamwork’ is considered one of the highest virtues, especially by governments and employers, it seems that very few individuals have the capacity to have real and intimate connections with other people, with the hapless quasi-autistic protagonist not even realizing that his ostensible lifelong best friend is an uniquely unscrupulous psychopath who makes a living torturing people to death for a godless bureaucratic machine. Despite the absurd name of Hebraic lawyer turned Hollywood culture-distorter Sid Sheinberg’s completely butchered “Love Conquers All” cut, Brazil depicts a world where true love is, at least socially speaking, impossible and women are nothing more than mere proud consumer goods that strive to enhance their physical appearances via plastic surgery as a means to attract more desirable male buyers, who are naturally always looking to upgrade their female flesh, whether it be by buying a new babe or upgrading an existing one with fake tits or new lingerie. Indeed, love and emotionally compatibility never enter the equation in the wholly materialistic sexual economy that is sardonically depicted in Gilliam's flick. Quite like real-life, protagonist Sam and his shieldmaiden Jill would have no problem spending a beautiful lifetime together had they lived during a much simpler time when men were men and women were women and no one was confused about their role in life, but every aspect of the dystopian nightmare realm that they live in has made this innately impossible for various reasons.
I must confess that I am not really a fan of Terry Gilliam as either a man or a filmmaker as I find him to be somewhat of a perennially posturing left-wing pussy that acts like it is profoundly heroic to obnoxiously express impotent political statements that are, quite unlike with a lower-middleclass man that lives paycheck-to-paycheck, fairly safe and easy to make if you're a respected wealthy man with dual-citizenship and multiple homes around the world, yet I cannot deny that I regard Brazil as both a sort of personal Christmas time favorite as well as one of the few important films to come out of Hollywood during the 1980s. Indeed, Gilliam's film is like a It's a Wonderful Life for Cioranites and the rare sort of tough-minded individuals that can read Pentti Linkola yet still maintain a sense of humor. Arguably the last great ‘American’ anglophile, Gilliam almost seems like the kind of culturally confused Frankenstein monster that would be sired as a result of a decidedly disharmonious anti-romance between Peter Greenaway and Steven Spielberg as a strange bird that seems to think he can get away with creating Hollywood blockbusters for straight edge art fags, bourgeois anarchists, autistic libertarians, virginal middle-aged math teachers, and teenage nihilists. Undoubtedly Gilliam’s most personal cinematic work to date, Brazil is ironically a film about a sort of sub-beta-boy that was directed by a man that would eventually become an alpha-male of sorts, albeit in a sort of absurd nerd fashion, thus underscoring the social dysfunction of our very real dystopian world, which artificially elevates people that would have failed miserably in previous societies. After all, chances are that someone as radically physically revolting like Spielberg clone J.J. Abrams would be peddling soiled socks out of a suitcase in a Polish ghetto only a century ago. In other words, like in Brazil, the ‘game’ is completely rigged and people like Abrams and Michael Bay do not become rich and famous because of talent or artistic prowess, but because of a certain combination of ruthlessness, nepotism, psychopathy, and/or greed, hence the glaring difference between the history of Hollywood and European arthouse cinema. Indeed, as far as I am concerned, Gilliam is a sort of glorified court jester who would have probably had his throat slit in more primitive times for running his mouth at a less than auspicious time, but of course, the difference between him and Hebraic hacks like Abrams and Bay is that he is actually an artist with a personal vision, hence why he has been less monetarily successful and has routinely battled with studios over his projects. Like a manic Monty Python molestation of Orson Welles’ The Trial (1962) and Federico Fellini’s 8½ (1963) as directed by a yank anglophile with goofy delusions of grandeur and a curious case of cultural amnesia, the film also seemingly unwittingly demonstrates why virtually anything of cultural value that is produced in the United States tends to have deep European influences (after all, even a proud leftist like Gilliam could not help but turn into a European). Likewise, in its bizarre yet quite fitting mix of British and American actors and ambiguous and anachronistic settings, the film demonstrates is an assumedly unintentional way that the cultureless mongrel known as the United States is largely responsible for the decay and deracination of the Occident, as a cancerous ex-colony that has begun to consume the very motherland that gave birth to it. Rather unfortunately, globalization and Americanization is transforming the entire world into a sort of all-homogenizing anarcho-tyrannical toilet that every single individual is expected to submit to, or as Robert De Niro’s character sardonically states to Brazil protagonist Sam, “We’re all in it together.”
Posted by Soiled Sinema at 4:31 AM
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