Do They Know It’s Christmas? — Day Five
Christmas Connection: It’s Christmas time in a dystopian society where a faceless, monolithic government blindly grinds its citizens beneath its heels. You know, a documentary.
I’d always liked movies growing up, but Brazil was the film where the whole thing finally clicked and it turned from like to love. Oh sure, I had Star Wars and Raiders of the Lost Ark, but those were just high school crushes. Brazil was the first film I loved that made me feel like I was a smarter film fan for loving it.
It didn’t hurt that I first saw the film my freshman year in college, when I was just starting in on my English major and so was in the process of having my head cracked open to the idea of reading something with an eye for more than what was just on the page. Of course, it was on a VCR in a dorm, so a lot of the visual majesty was lost on me until I managed to see the widescreen version on DVD — and I regret never having seen this on the big screen — but even on that old square television, Terry Gilliam’s magic was obvious.
And, of course, being someone who fancied himself a creative sort (and still does, obviously), the idea of the human imagination being more powerful than the worst humanity could do to itself was incredibly compelling. The film so effortlessly switches back and forth from cold gray reality to soaring lyrical dreamscapes that, when the narrative actually transitions to Sam’s dream of escape, we don’t even realize it until those giant heads pop into view and we see Sam’s distant yet happy expression. In the physical sense, the machine has won, but spiritually, it’s a resounding victory for the soul.
Do They Know It’s Christmas?: Oh yes, everyone is downright jolly and happy and giving gifts to one and all. Granted, every gift is exactly the same and given with about as much sincerity as giving someone the time, but hey, it’s the semblance of the thought that counts, right?