Last night, BBC Four showed a couple of programs devoted to the life and work of Terry Gilliam. First up was an interview with Gilliam by Mark Lawson, which was interesting in itself. But for me, the real revelation came with the showing of Gilliam’s masterpiece Brazil that followed the interview.
Of course, I’ve seen Brazil before; several times, in fact. But this was the first time that I’d seen it in many years. Post 9/11 and 7/7, the film has taken on many resonances that simply did not exist for me in the early years. I was struck by the parallels between the political landscape of the film (unseen terrorists versus the state and its propaganda machine) and today’s world. It was, I have to say, a much more uncomfortable experience for me than when I had previously seen the film.
I’m not the only person to feel this way, it appears. Check out this essay from Robert Blumen. While Blumen naturally views Brazil through the lens of being American, I can report a similar frisson as a Brit, viewing the recent history of Blair’s Britain. It makes for uncomfortable thoughts of where we are and where we are going.