This is the film that Hollywood didn't want you to see. After it was finished, the studio refused to release it, stating that it was morbid and that the ending was too depressing. Director Terry Gilliam (Monty Python, Time Bandits) lobbied hard and nasty (he took out ads in "Variety" chastising the studio) to get the film released. The film, a dark retro-futuristic fantasy reminiscent of 1984, is a masterful exploration of the nightmares of the state and of mindless conformity to it. Jonathan Pryce plays Sam Lowry, an "information retrieval" clerk who gets into big trouble when he starts to pursue a woman that he has previously dreamt about. The entire steam-belching, shit-churning system is geared against whimsy and fantasy. Lowry's world begins to rattle apart as he tries to learn of the women's identity. Robert De Niro shows up to save the day (and steal the film) as Harry Tuttle, the terrorist heating engineer.
Enough can't be said about the brilliance of Gilliam's vision. He uses a number of cinematic techniques to achieve the unsettling effects of the film. Scenes are shot wide-angled, but they are densely packed with visual information and background noise. The viewer feels lost, claustrophobic and totally de-centered. Gilliam also creates the impression that the lid has come off this world by constantly shooting from the bottom and panning up. The camera pans up and down and in and out - it rarely pans side-to-side. This movie has the kind of info-density that warrants (and rewards) repeated viewing.
Also starring Python-mate Michael Palin, Ian Holm, Ian Richardson, and Kathryn Pogson. The script was written by Terry Gilliam, Charles McKeown and Tom Stoppard.
Directed by Terry Gilliam
1985, Universal Pictures
Here is the TEXT POPUP for Brazil:
Signs in "Brazil:"
* Help the Ministry of Information Help You
* Suspicion Breeds Confidence
* Happiness. We're all in this together.
* Mellowfields: Top Security Holiday Camp. Luxury Without Suspicion. Relax in a Panic-Free Environment.
[Sam's boss, Mr. Kurtzmann, played by Ian Holm, calls him into his office:]
Kurtzmann: Look at this. Look at it!
Sam: What is it?
Kurtzmann: It's a refund check. It's for Tuttle...er...I mean Buttle. It's been confusion since the word go. He's been overcharged for information retrieval services. (read: he was interrogated to death)
Sam: Let me see that, I've never seen a refund check before.
Kurtzmann: We've got to get rid of it!
Sam: Well why not send it to Buttle. After all, it's his check.
Kurtzmann: I've tried that, (reaches for file folder) but see:
The Population Census has him down as "daunted"
The Central Collective Storehouse has got him down as "deleted"
Sam: Hang on. (goes to computer to run a search)
Kurtzmann: Information Retrieval has got him down as "inoperative"
Security has got him down as "excised"
Sam: (looking up from computer) He's dead.
Kurtzmann: Dead? Oh that's... awful. (picks up the check) Now we'll never get rid of the damn thing!