Archive for June 21st, 2010

Images from Terry Gilliam's "Brazil"

It’s about 6:30 in the morning and I’m sitting here, stumped and looking at a blank screen.  Nothing to say so I flip on the television.  Don’t really want to watch the news.  Not ready for that just yet.

So I flip around the dial and up comes the opening from the movie Brazil with the music from the old song of the same name blaring, but in a gentle way.  It’s a sort of  1984 storyline that is set in a futuristic nightmare world that vaguely  resembles 1950’s England, only with some slight twists and bends.   I know I can’t watch it and get anything done but keep it on because I know that at any moment I can look up at it and see incredibly interesting imagery.

It’s a Terry Gilliam film after all.

Terry Gilliam was the American member of Monty Python’s Flying Circus, the least visible member but the one responsible for much of their visual look including their trademark opening credits and most of their animations.  In his post-Python life he has become one of the most original film-makers in the world, creating films that are wildly original and always richly visual.  Films like Time Bandits, The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, Jabberwocky, Twelve Monkeys, The Fisher King and  most recently, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus.  All films that march to their own drum and have had degrees of success but hardly movies that have had widespread appeal for the general movie-going public.

I can imagine when film critics in the future, if there are such things then, will look back on Gilliam’s body of work and will recognize him for the creative genius he is for creating richly detailed alternate visions of this world in his films,  with stories that are consistently strong and beautifully conceived, that often deal with the individual trying to make his way through a world in which he is usually out of place in some way.  A theme I think we can all identify with in our own way.   I think that is how his work will be remembered, as highly individualistic visual feasts. 

Each film is definitely recognizable as his work.

So, as I struggle tofinish this post and get back to my own work, Brazil still rolls across the TV screen in my studio and I know I won’t get much done until it’s over.  Thanks, Terry…

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