Brazil | NC Museum of Art | Screen: Special Showings | Indy Week
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We are living in the golden age of dystopian fiction, but in 1985, when Terry Gilliam's Brazil hit theaters after initially being held back by Universal, dystopian dramas were by no means commonplace. The film is now not only recognized as a classic, replete with Criterion Collection status, but its vision of a soul-crushing world whose screen-addicted, food-obsessed, plastic surgery-fixated inhabitants lead lives of quiet desperation amid the constant threat of terrorism has been called prophetic. Gilliam has said the future he depicted was already extant in the era of Reagan and Thatcher, and that Brazil was "as much a documentary as it was a dystopia." Indeed, Gilliam drew on numerous personal experiences in conceiving it, including his work on a Chevrolet assembly line, getting caught in a police riot in 1967, and his vertiginous first impressions of New York skyscrapers. Even with a talented cast, including a memorably comic performance from Robert DeNiro, Gilliam's vision is the real star. —David Klein

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