THE IMAGINARIUM OF DOCTOR PARNASSUS
Whoa! Terry Gilliam is so quirky and weird! Just a bunch of random imagery and wacky stuff! ...I'm being sarcastic... Terry Gilliam knows exactly what the f- he's doing.
Symbols and imagery, IMO, can be interpreted as many things to many people, but the true meaning is with the creator, the writer, the artist. That's the irony, the trick, the rub, the deception... or not. Whatever you want to call it. However you want to take it. Unless you find out about it, unless you're in on it, unless you are an "initiate," you, i guess, know only as much as you think you know. Symbols are more powerful than words. Words are too exact. Symbols are visual and universal, and therefore transcend languages. In any case, it's important to read up on what symbols mean and their many meanings.
Masonic symbols to learn about include: the all-seeing eye with rays, pyramid, jacob's ladder, checker board floor, hanged man, and two columns.
I'm wondering if most people think Brazil is a comedy. To me, it's 1984-ish, oppressive, scary, exhausting, albeit outrageous at times. Here are excepts from Terry Gilliam's commentary track on the director's cut of Brazil:
“These troopers- some of this is influenced by a mixture of Star Wars, a lot of South American oppressive countries. Most of the detail that I got about the tortures and the arrests were a very common place in most other countries in the world. There was very little inventing. I kept telling people this film is a documentary- I’ve invented nothing. These are only things that I’ve observed.”
“The Truth Shall Make You Free. It the one thing in this world that doesn’t operate on, it’s truth. And yet they glorify it. Usually you spot how societies work by what they glorify -- it’s usually the thing they’re deficient in."
“…1984, the book, which I never read, but I think I share some sort of collective conscious understanding of what 1984 is about…George Gross’ paintings, Metropolis, Fritz Lang, totalitarian posters…and you mix all of that with America in the 40’s and Popular Mechanics, and the world of everything will be better in the future, technology will solve all our problems….then you have the reality of Margaret Thatcher’s Britain, which we were living in at the time…”
“…typing the transcript of a torture. She’s the sweetest person in the world and she’s like secretaries around the world, they just do what their bosses ask them to do and they don’t think about it. This is what secretaries do. This is why we hire them. And she’s the cheeriest, the sweetest, woman we could find, and yet doing this, with no sense of what it means, with no sense of the awfulness. And that’s one of things that amazes me about the human animal, how it can separate its mind from the reality and the awfulness and carry on… and they intrigue me… I’m sure those people exist all around the world in every secret service, organization. CIA have got those people, they’re out there, they do their job, they don’t think about it, they do the paperwork…I think everybody in this world is doing it. There‘s hardly anybody who has escaped that way of thinking.”
“Here’s a scene with Jack, the family man, the best friend, who happens to be this torturer, he’s like a butcher when we first see him. And we have pictures of his happy family, there’s his wife on the desk, and we hit all the closeups of them and it didn‘t work… we had to be more obvious, we had to have a little girl in the scene, not a picture, but let’s have a little girl playing, to show what a good family man, he’s a sweet man, he loves his children, he plays with them, delicate and caring. Here’s somebody who’s got his brain split down the middle, he can do one job, and then he could be the good family man, and still be a functioning human being. The objective attitude that jack shows is what I think America keeps doing more than anywhere. I mean, it’s the idea that you somehow overcome the failings of your humanness by becoming objective, and you stand above it, and then everything is treated equally, fairly, all of that, and this will make a better world. The fact is it makes a nightmare world. It’s like it gets rid of passion, it gets rid of all the things that we’re always told is primitive, base, that society should be ridding itself of. And it scares me, because people like Jack Lint succeed in that world and they don’t differentiate between delivering torture fairly and objectively and evenly or handing out presents. In the same form. It’s done the same way. And it’s like the blood has gone out of society. And that’s what’s chilling, that scares me more than anything. I can deal with someone who’s crazed, who hates me. I can’t deal with somebody who gives me a nice smile, a level tone in their voice and is objective.”
On the prisoner who is bagged and bumps into the wall with the pinball sound fx, “ I love that moment because people laugh, and then they don’t laugh. They’re caught. That’s what happens a lot on the film, where we set people up to laugh, and they start to laugh and they realize this isn’t funny, and there’s a gasp. And it’s part of the roller coaster ride that I really intended. We raise them heights of laughter and then say uh-uh, not funny, this is terrifying. And they plunge. And a lot of people resent that and that’s understandable.”
“ In my original ideas about the film, the ministry didn’t know whether there were terrorists out there or not because over the years they had so many counter agents and counter-counter agents out there and agent provocateurs who maybe set explosions to lure people in. The people lost track of whether there really were terrorists or not, but the important thing is the belief in terrorists had to be maintained to allow the ministry to continue to survive. Originally the film was called The Ministry. It was really about the survival of an organism like a great bureaucracy that will do anything to keep itself going. And sometimes in this world it seemed to be people were more willing to believe in the idea of terrorists than the inefficiency of the technological system, which is constantly blowing up and going wrong. And it’s how you choose to view the world, is what‘s it‘s about. And we do it everyday of our lives. We make assumptions that Sam is constantly is doing and is proved wrong.”
“I remember some years ago talking to George Lucas about evil and I was saying (Darth Vader) isn’t evil because he’s.. wears a black costume, he’s like the cowboy with the black hat. You see him coming a mile away. You know this is the bad guy. So that to me isn’t really worrisome ‘cause you can see it. What’s evil is Jack Lint, the person who’s the best friend, the nice guy, who does…what he does. And that’s evil. So, all along the line, we let the Darth Vader’s of this world be seen to be people in there with real problems, even silly problems.”
On the plastic-surgery obsessed mom‘s house: “The designs in mum’s flat, it’s all Egyptian. It’s all about eternal life. Mummification. Or Mommy-fication, I’m not sure. …The idea of the ducts in here in this old apartment that was once beautiful, but the ducts had invaded that just to provide whatever central services can provide. You spend all your money on the aesthetics of the place, but you destroy all to get the goodies the system provides. To me the important thing about the ducting was that people, no matter how much money and care the spend on decorating their world, they would happily destroy that for the benefits of this modern society. And it‘s a kind of brutalization of aesthetics that intrigues me.”