I think that Monty Python, for the most part was an over indulgent group of
comedians, that lacked a solid direction. This was quite apparent in most
of their work, in that it was ever changing and rarely took on a different
tone from their usual dialogue oriented sketches. There are some bits which
were always pleasing, but all in all, while they produced a very good amount
of work, they never could reach the beauty of their predecessors, like THE
GOONS [ Peter Sellers, Spike Milligan and Harry Secombe, a BBC serial of
radio comedy sketches with various ( same ) characters going through
different adventures. ]; or even Peter Cook and Dudley Moore [ with their
off the wall Derek & Clive albums ], whose material was beautifully written
and acted out.
But Monty Python did have one thing that most of these didn't have. Where
the Goons were a radio cartoon, Monty Python mixed in a series of cartoons
to their work,... thanks in part to their only American member, Terry
>From the opening sequence of their show ( the news caster is wheeled off
thru the streets of London until he is dumped off the peer ), in between
their theatrical moments, and on occasion mixed in their films, perhaps this
man's work was, consistently, the part which added a little more laissez
faire attitude of the spirit to the otherwise quasi intellectual dialogue.
It was no wonder that Terry Gilliam became a film maker, because his work
was all visual, and above all, a bit weird, perfect chemistry for the
There were a handful of films done by HANDMADE FILMS ( George Harrison's
group ) which Terry participated in, I believe the early Python films, Time
Bandits, culminating with The Life of Brian, when it was obvious that a
small studio wouldn't be able to handle the proportion of growth which these
guys were developing. Terry Gilliam designed the settings for THE LIFE OF
BRIAN and put together a slick cartoon in the middle of it ( the small
spaceship that goes for a trip in the galaxy before crashing next to Reg and
the boys ) that set the tone for his later work.
BRAZIL is the first Terry Gilliam film that marked he was on the way to
becoming a major director and writer. It was a futuristic tale of a gross
computer mistake that did away with the wrong man as a revolutionary, in a
society which spends much of its time eliminating those who do not agree or
live by the rules,.... a little of agilicism, anyone ...??? ... And amidst
all this rumble, is a loner of a guy, who lives his visionary space, and has
hopes of leaving the place he inhabits. He fantasizes in an over exuberant
fashion, which comes alive in the screen, making it that much bigger,... and
a come down when he has to continue on with the daily chores.
His fantasy girl is not only a revolutionary ( he is tired of the senseless
system ), but also beautiful, and dreamy, if not a bit too violent at first,
until later she relents and becomes .... a woman. Compared to the rest of
the women in the film who are mostly vain and totaly overdone with make up.
All in all, it is hard not to appreciate this film, although its pace is too
fast for most film go'ers. You have barely figured out what has happened
and the next bit is on the way. And if you don't listen carefully, all the
lines get wasted. In between, is a beauty of enjoyment and a harsh
statement on the modern systems of today, where people do not mean anything,
unless they have to be eliminated because they do not fit.
Jonathan Pryce is absolutely excellent. And the endless cast of characters
that comes in and out of the film is fun to keep up with. Everyone has a
bit part somewhere.
There are few futuristic films that discuss the paranoia, and the fears that
we have regarding it. The lack of human-ness is what this film is really
about. The ending is most satisfying in that for once the FANTASY has won,
and the social order does not stand a chance. Sam Lowry has a smile, and
that's all that matters to both you and I. The vision has won, the social
beast has lost.
Copyright © 1994 Pedro Sena