Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Brazil / Бразилия (1985)

Brazil is a 1985 film directed by Terry Gilliam. It was written by Gilliam, Charles McKeown, and Tom Stoppard and stars Jonathan Pryce. The film also features Robert De Niro, Kim Greist, Michael Palin, Katherine Helmond, Bob Hoskins, and Ian Holm. John Scalzi's Rough Guide to Sci-Fi Movies describes the film as a "dystopian satire".

The film centres on Sam Lowry (Jonathan Pryce), a young man trying to find a woman who appears in his dreams while he is working in a mind-numbing job and living a life in a small apartment, set in a dystopian world in which there is an over-reliance on poorly maintained (and rather whimsical) machines. Brazil's bureaucratic, totalitarian government is reminiscent of the government depicted in George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four, except that it has a buffoonish, slap-stick quality and lacks a 'Big Brother' figure.

Jack Mathews, movie critic and author of The Battle of Brazil (1987), described the film as "satirizing the bureaucratic, largely dysfunctional industrial world that had been driving Gilliam crazy all his life". Though a success in Europe, the film was unsuccessful in its initial North America release. It has since become a cult film.

The film is named after the recurrent theme song, "Aquarela do Brasil".

Directed by Terry Gilliam
Produced by Arnon Milchan
Written by Terry Gilliam
Tom Stoppard
Charles McKeown
Starring Jonathan Pryce
Kim Greist
Michael Palin
Robert De Niro
Katherine Helmond
Bob Hoskins
Ian Holm
Music by Michael Kamen
Cinematography Roger Pratt
Editing by Julian Doyle
Studio Embassy International Pictures N.V.
Distributed by Universal Studios (US)
20th Century Fox (Europe)
Release date(s) February 20, 1985 (1985-02-20) (France)
01985-02-22 February 22, 1985 (United Kingdom)
Running time Theatrical release:
132 minutes
Television Edit:
94 minutes
Director's cut:
142 minutes
Country United Kingdom
Language English

"Set in a fictional Britain, the film follows Sam Lowry (Jonathan Pryce), a low-level government employee who has frequent daydreams of saving a beautiful maiden. One day he is assigned the task of trying to rectify an error caused by a fly getting jammed in a printer, which caused it to misprint a file, which resulted in the incarceration and accidental death during interrogation of Mr. Archibald Buttle instead of the suspected terrorist, Archibald "Harry" Tuttle. When Sam visits Buttle's widow, he discovers Jill Layton (Kim Greist), the upstairs neighbour of the Buttles, is the same woman as in his dreams. Jill is trying to help Mrs Buttle find out what happened to her husband, but has become sick of dealing with the bureaucracy. Unbeknownst to her, she is now considered a terrorist friend of Tuttle for attempting to report the mistake of Buttle's arrest in Tuttle's place to bureaucrats that would not admit such an error. When Sam tries to approach her, she is very cautious and avoids giving Sam full details, worried the government will track her down. During this time, Sam comes in contact with the real Harry Tuttle (Robert De Niro), a renegade air conditioning specialist who once worked for the government but left due to the amount of paperwork. Tuttle helps Sam deal with two government workers who are taking their time fixing the broken air conditioning in Sam's apartment.

Sam determines the only way to learn about Jill is to transfer to "Information Retrieval" where he would have access to her classified records. He requests the help of his mother Ida (Katherine Helmond), vainly addicted to rejuvenating plastic surgery under the care of cosmetic surgeon Dr. Jaffe (Jim Broadbent), as she has connections to high ranking officers and is able to help her son get the position. Delighted that her son has finally shown ambition – he previously turned down the promotions which she had arranged – Sam's mother arranges for Sam to be promoted into the Information Retrieval division. Sam eventually obtains Jill's records and tracks her down before she is arrested, then falsifies her records to make her appear deceased, allowing her to escape the bureaucracy. The two share a romantic night together before Sam is apprehended by the government at gun-point for misusing his position.

Sam is restrained to a chair in a large, empty cylindrical room (the interior of a power station cooling tower), to be tortured by his old friend, Jack Lint (Michael Palin), as he is now considered part of an assumed terrorist plot including Jill and Tuttle. However, before Jack can start, Tuttle and other members of the resistance break in to the Ministry. The resistance shoots Jack, rescues Sam, and blows up the Ministry building as they flee. Sam and Tuttle run off together, but Tuttle disappears amid a mass of scraps of paper from the destroyed Ministry. Sam runs to his mother attending a funeral for a friend who died of excessive cosmetic surgery. Finding his mother now looking like Jill and fawned over by a flock of juvenile admirers, Sam falls into the open casket, finding it to be bottomless. He lands in a world from his daydreams, and attempts escape up a pile of flex-ducts from the police and imaginary monsters. He finds a door at the top of the pile and, passing through it, is surprised to find himself in a trailer driven by Jill. The two drive away from the city together".>>>>>>>

Good Bye Lenin! / Гудбай Ленин

Good Bye, Lenin!is a 2003 German tragicomedy film, released internationally in 2003. Directed by Wolfgang Becker, the cast includes Daniel Brühl, Katrin Sass, Chulpan Khamatova, and Maria Simon. Most of the scenes were shot at the Karl-Marx-Allee in Berlin and around Plattenbauten near Alexanderplatz.

Directed by Wolfgang Becker
Produced by Stefan Arndt
Written by Wolfgang Becker
Bernd Lichtenberg
Starring Daniel Brühl
Katrin Sass
Chulpan Khamatova
Maria Simon
Alexander Beyer
Music by Yann Tiersen
Claire Pichet
Cinematography Martin Kukula
Editing by Peter R. Adam
Distributed by Sony Pictures Classics
Release date(s) February 27, 2004
Running time 121 min
Country Germany

In a prologue, Alex Kerner (Daniel Brühl) recalls as a child (in 1978) how proud he was along with his countrymen when the first German to enter space, Sigmund Jähn, came from the East.

The rest of the film is set in East Berlin, spanning from October 1989 to just after German unification a year later. Alex lives with his sister, Ariane (Maria Simon), his mother, Christiane (Katrin Sass), and Ariane's infant daughter, Paula. His father fled to the West in 1978, apparently abandoning the family. In his absence, Christiane has become an ardent idealist and supporter of the ruling Socialist Unity Party of Germany (the Party). When she sees Alex being arrested in an anti-government demonstration, she suffers a near-fatal heart attack and falls into a coma. The police ignore Alexander's plea to assist his mother, rather releasing him later that evening to go and see her.

Shortly afterward, the Berlin Wall falls. In that time, capitalism comes to East Berlin, and Alex loses his job before "winning" a new position in a ballot to install satellite dishes with West Berlin resident Dennis (an aspiring filmmaker) while Ariane leaves university to work at a Burger King drive-thru. After eight months, Christiane awakes, but is severely weakened both physically and mentally. Her doctor asserts that any shock might cause another, possibly fatal, heart attack. Alex realizes that the discovery of recent events would be too much for her to bear, and so sets out to maintain the illusion that things are as before in the German Democratic Republic. To this end, he and Ariane revert from the gaudy decor of the west to the previous decor to their bed-ridden mother's bedroom in the family apartment, dress in their old clothes, and feed Christiane new Western produce from old-labeled jars. Their deception is successful, albeit increasingly complicated and elaborate. Christiane occasionally witnesses strange occurrences, such as a gigantic Coca-Cola advertisement banner unfurling on a building outside the apartment. With Dennis, Alex edits old tapes of East German news broadcasts and creates fake reports on TV (played from a video machine hidden in an adjacent room) to explain these odd events. Since the old news shows were fairly predictable, and Christiane's memory is vague, she is initially fooled.>>>

BAFTA Awards

* Best Film not in the English Language (nominated – lost to In This World)

European Film Awards

* Best Actor (Brühl, won)
* Best Actress (Sass, nominated – lost to Charlotte Rampling, Swimming Pool)
* Best Director (Becker, nominated – lost to Lars von Trier, Dogville)
* Best Film (won)
* Best Screenwriter (Lichtenberg, won)

German Film Awards

* Outstanding Actor (Brühl, won)
* Outstanding Actress (Sass, nominated – lost to Hannelore Elsner, Mein letzter Film)
* Outstanding Direction (Becker, won)
* Outstanding Editing (Adam, won)
* Outstanding Film (won)
* Outstanding Music (Tiersen, won)
* Outstanding Production Design (Holler, won)
* Outstanding Supporting Actor (Lukas, won)
* Outstanding Supporting Actress (Simon, nominated – lost to Corinna Harfouch, Bibi Blocksberg)

Golden Globe Awards

* Best Foreign Language Film (nominated – lost to Osama)

Goya Awards

* Best European Film (Becker, won)

London Film Critics Circle

* Best Foreign Language Film (won)

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