Reality is What You Can Get Away With

Fantastic Imaginings, Rebellion and Control in Terry Gilliam's Brazil

in Critical Survey
Author:
Ben Wheeler University of Nottingham

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It is my intention here to explore the fictional and non-fictional texts that may have informed (or are at least isomorphic to) the sentiments articulated in this seminal dystopian film. The film centres on the struggles of protagonist Sam Lowry (Jonathon Pryce), a cog in the impersonal machinery of the bureaucracy that governs Brazil's society who desires anonymity within consensus reality, but in his dreams is a winged warrior fighting noble battles with symbolic adversaries. Sam finds he is increasingly unable to successfully reconcile or differentiate these paradoxical existences as they begin to bleed into one another throughout the film.

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