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FAQ for
Brazil (1985) More at IMDbPro »

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From the Brazil FAQ v1.3: "The samurai is a huge, monolithic, powerful machine, and is assumed to represent technology." Sam finds his own face behind the mask, which reveals that he was a willing participant in the governmental monstrosity. In the director's commentary, Terry Gilliam suggests that representing Sam's dual nature as such was a play on the word "samurai" by the screenwriter Tom Stoppard--samurai can be read as SAM-U-R-I (Sam, you are I).

From the Brazil FAQ v1.3: "Gilliam's mother once sent him a mask like that, and it haunted him ever since. Gilliam intended the effect of combining the masks and the decaying bodies of the Forces of Darkness (the small, troll-like creatures which Sam sees in his dreams) to be an intermingling of the beginning and ends of life."

From the Brazil FAQ v1.3: "An executive decision maker. . . it has a plunger that can fall to one side of a divider, landing on "YES" or "NO"."

It is named after the song "Aquarela do Brasil", known in the English-speaking world simply as "Brazil", written by Ary Barroso, which Sam is humming in the final scene when Jack and Mr. Helpmann consider him catatonic. You can also hear the melody in Michael Kamen's score and the song opens the film before the title is show in neon.

The myth behind the name of the film relates to Terry Gilliam being at a beach in the UK one day. Apparently the weather wasn't particularly great, but a man was sitting on the beach alone listening to the famous song (on a stereo) that we hear in the film. Gilliam was fascinated by the man sitting there despite all the "adversity", and this became the theme and title for the film.

The film is about surreal technology and its effect on society. And how one man escapes from all of the dark negativity, through daydreaming - to a better place that he's created - completely within his own mind. It's also about life in a totalitarian dystopic society sometime in the near future. You'll notice that most of the technology in the film fails constantly -- the heating ductwork in Sam's apartment, the robot that Jill hits when trying to find out what happened to Harry Buttle, the mistake that leads to Buttle's arrest, even Sam's failure to simply send a compensation check to Buttle's widow. Director Terry Gilliam is trying to tell us that technology fails constantly, and causes us more problems than solutions.

The dystopian society that is presented in the film is often thought of as an interpretation of George Orwell's seminal novel 1984, which presented a bleak vision (much bleaker than this one) of the future where the lives of humans were controlled by a central system known only as "Big Brother". Humans were monitored for any form of thought that Big Brother believed would disrupt the system it had created.


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