Three decades ago, as the world pondered an Orwellian future, Terry Gilliam released the cult film Brazil, a bleak dystopian satire about a world awash with bureaucratic inanities and mistakes, starring Jonathan Pryce, Robert de Niro and Michael Palin.
Now 73-year-old’s back with a new satirical sci-fi film The Zero Theorem, which looks like it’s every bit as good as Brazil.
Gilliam also made Monty Python’s Life of Brian, Time Bandits, The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, Twelve Monkeys and The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus.
His films are distinctive, idiosyncratic and darkly funny, like his work for Monty Python – he was responsible for the crazy animation sketches.
He was the inadvertent star of Lost in La Mancha, a documentary on his doomed attempts to make a film based on Don Quixote, starring Johnny Depp, 14 years ago.
Gilliam says The Zero Theorem is the cheapest film he’s made since Life of Brian and he enlisted a bunch of Hollywood A-listers, including Oscar winners Christoph Waltz (from Tarantino’s Django), Matt Damon and Tilda Swinton and Harry Potter star David Thewlis, to work on it for next to nothing.
The Zero Theorem returns to the themes explored in Brazil – an individual trying to make sense of the mad bureaucratic world engulfing him. Qohen Leth (Waltz) is computer geek in an Orwellian corporation, suffering existential angst. His job is to solve a mathematical formula known as the Zero Theorem to figure out whether life has meaning.
He works for a dark overlord known as Management (Damon).
It looks like another absurdist romp that skewers our current obsessions and any Corporate Salaryman at his wit’s end is going to love it.
Watch Terry Gilliam explain at little about his new movie here.
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