The Evolution of Brazil
By David Morgan
Terry Gilliam’s dystopian fantasy Brazil (1985) touches on themes that run throughout the writer-director’s art: the struggle of an individual against a crushing, inhuman system; the dominance of technology; and the power of dreams. Gilliam began thinking about the concept of Brazil while in production on Jabberwocky (1977). The animator and director, who had worked for years as part of the Monty Python group, initially drafted the story on his own but eventually turned to some talented friends and colleagues to help shape his ideas and make them more dramatically astute. This piece tells the story of the evolution of the Brazil script over nearly a decade, accompanied by design sketches, storyboards, photographs of the production, and more.