Repertory Picks

A Dystopian Masterpiece in Honolulu

Today at 7 p.m., Hawaii time, the Honolulu Museum of Art will dim the lights and cue up Terry Gilliam’s 1985 film Brazil, concluding a weeklong series of events exploring artistic representations of technological surveillance. With the future-shock fantasia, his third feature as a solo auteur, Gilliam ascended to the very height of his powers, bringing his patented brand of antic absurdism into the hair-raising realm of the totalitarian dystopia. Packed to the rafters with densely layered imagery and ingenious Rube Goldbergian sight gags, the film follows a drudge at the Department of Records (Jonathan Pryce) who finds himself fingered as a terrorist after a fatal mix-up at work—a story that eerily anticipates the Orwellian state of the world of today. As critic David Sterritt notes in his liner essay for our edition of the film, the dazzling Brazil’s “verbal and visual wit remain as incisive as ever, and the themes it explores—social alienation, terrorism, the hazards of high technology, and the bureaucratization of absolutely everything—are more urgent now than when the film premiered.”

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