Living in "Brazil"

In 1985 director Terry Gilliam (of “Monty Python’s Flying Circus” fame) released a movie called “Brazil.”   If you’ve never seen it, track it down and watch it.   It makes the case against Big Government more eloquently (and horrifyingly) than anything else I’ve ever seen.   In the first five minutes of the movie, the following things happen (remember, this movie was made thirty years ago):

  1.  A terrorist bomb explodes, destroying a storefront.
  2. On TV, a government official explains that the bombing campaign (“now in its 13th year”) is simply “beginner’s luck” and government has the terrorists “on the run.”
  3. A heavily-armed SWAT team dressed in full military gear conducts a “no-knock” kick-in-the-door raid on a family’s apartment and arrests the father.

Shortly afterward, the (mistakenly) arrested father winds up dead in police custody, setting off a chain of events that power the rest of the movie, and result in lives destroyed, multiple deaths, and an overwhelming sense of a monstrous system out of control.

Terry Gilliam’s film was originally going to be made and released in 1984, probably to coincide with the anniversary of George Orwell’s horrific vision of the future, “1984.”   Gilliam’s vision so upset the studio, however, that the studio deemed it “unreleasable” and we probably would never have seen it if Gilliam hadn’t screened the film (without permission) for LA film critics.   The resulting furor caused the studio to eventually release the film.   At one point, various critics were asking if a film which hadn’t been released could be eligible for the Best Picture Acadamy Award.

Now, thirty years later, we can watch “Brazil” all we want – the film is available, in a beautiful Blu-ray version.

Or, you can just turn on the news.

  • Nightly terrorism?  Check.
  • Government lies and BS?  Check.
  • No-knock raids by military-grade police, masked and pointing machine guns at your family?  Check.
  • Pointless, mindless bureaucracy grinding you up in the gears?  Check.

Welcome to the future.  Gilliam saw it coming.