Friday, August 19, 2011


I saw Brazil (1985) recently. Or, to be more precise, I got bored about halfway through and stopped watching it. Maybe I’ll go back some day and watch the other half.

That’s not a criticism of the film. The film satirizes a futuristic totalitarian bureaucracy. After a while I find that bit tedious because life in a totalitarian bureaucracy is tedious–however absurdist the satire.

But as I was watching the film, I couldn’t help thinking that this is what life would be like if the “progressives” have their way. A crushing, multistoried regime with more layers than a skyscraper. Dysfunctional, pointless, punitive agencies spitting out pointless, contradictory, punitive regulations–like miles of clogged plumbing. Agencies overseeing other agencies overseeing other agencies. Stiff penalties for made-up crimes. Stiff penalties for purely technical infractions.

A world in which the upper echelon bureaucrats have all the rights and privileges while the rest of us have all the onerous chores and duties. People whose only goal in life is to tell other people how to live their life. 

1 comment:

  1. I actually really enjoyed Brazil. I had to watch it for my Phil. of Social Science class with Jamie Smith at Calvin College. We were required to examine the movie in light of Charles Taylor's _Modern Social Imaginaries_. One of the aspects we discussed was how much of the world of Brazil was so structured, you needed all repairs down a specific way and need a specific paper signed/in hand to do anything. Then the main character and the rogue fix-it guy(I'm blanking on names and too lazy to look them up) come along and think why the heck do we need all these regulations and paperwork. Everyone else thinks they are absurd because all they know or imagine is a world of paperwork and strict regulations, others just can't imagine it any other way. The movie helps to show the contingency of the world-order, it could be otherwise, even though the majority could/can not imagine it otherwise (V for Vendetta is another movie that does this). I thought the movie presented some interesting perspectives and thoughts to chew on, but it was extremely odd at places (especially the day dreams)!