response to Howard Davis’ review of movie ‘Brazil’ (1985, Terry Gilliam)


I first saw this movie (Brazil, Terry Gilliam) soon after its release, making a good impression on me, but haven’t seen it since, so I was especially glad to have this opportunity from the Film Society. I only remembered one thing over the years about the movie and that was the gross (large scale) nature of the surveillance/bureaucratic infrastructure.  It must have been clear even in 1985 that miniaturisation (computerization) of those systems was on its way, but Gilliam’s approach seemed to be a means of warning society what was in store for it.

I would like to ask you about the use of shoppers, diners, and others going about their business in the face of terrorist bombs, intrusive and bizarre police raids, etc, apparently without noticing and definitely not acknowledging them. Is that any different from the attitude people have today?  By 1985 it was perfectly clear that an exploitative mentality toward the planet, colonization, sexism, racism, and the list of explicits can go on if you want, had passed its use by date, had become a destructive force, and was anachronistic.

Mainstream politics was in denial of this by the end of the 70s, desperately describing ‘killing the goose that laid the golden egg’. This led to the desperate growth of these destructive tendencies we’ve experienced, and now in the 21st century of climate change, when aggressive/defensive denial strategies are no longer possible, denial has reached the mainstream as the Post Truth Era.  Our daily consumerist lives are best understood by looking at the society depicted in the movie.



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