Image provided by: University of Oregon Libraries; Eugene, OR
About Just out. (Portland, OR) 1983-2013 | View Entire Issue (May 1, 1986)
Surreal C inem a
by E leanor M alin
You could call B razil the brainstorm of
Monty Python alum nus Terry Gilliam, but it’s
m ore like gray matter fission becom e tech
nicolor fallout Released late in the Ü.S.
(because we were thought too simple to un
derstand it), it is truly incomprehensible.
T he story line involves a privileged
bureaucrat a dreamer who dreams of his
ideal wom an, then sees her, but she is in the
p rocess of becom ing a m ore and more des
perate enem y of the state. The story inter
twines with the busiest sets o f details and
fullest fram es imaginable. Som ething is al
ways going on, even though you might not
be able to figure out what it is.
An underlying them e seem s to be that
w e’re all in this m ess together. Another is that
the individual has all sam e chance
for a happy, full life as a worm facing a mad
collector arm ed with formaldehyde and lots
o f pins.
In B razil, the state is a m indless labyrin-
thian bureaucracy, where the untimely death
o f a fly cau ses a glitch in the com puter which
leads to a tragic (though com ic) progression
of circum stances just too, too bizarre.
B razil is also the song that courses
through the bureaucrat's mind when he is
spacing out, trying to forget the grim reality of
all that he sees going on around him. It was a
perfect choice. Gilliam says the idea for this
assem blage cam e to him one day as he
listened to B razil, and it gives just the right
feeling o f abandon, surrender, carnival — to
counterpoint the grey, the small, the dismal
I loved this movie, but am going to have to
view it again, though that’s no sacrifice.
business partner. His daughter grudgingly
grants his son sexual favors in exchange for
product (drugs), he’s selling on the side. And
everywhere around Harry, people are getting
cancer. O ne of the accounts his ad agency
has had for years pushes a product that
cau ses cancer.
(Trivia buffs: watch closely the scene were
the em ployee tells Harry about the cancer-
causing sugar substitute. In the background
yo u ’ll see Bud Clark's "expose yourself to art”
Harry leaves his wife, ’’fires’’ the custom er
(whose wife has cancer), and takes up with a
hippy call girl, “Honey Barbara,” whose affin
ity for honey must symbolize the simple,
w holesom e and pure.
Honey Barbara spurns Harry when he goes
back to his old life, and he ends up following
her out to the boondocks, pursuing her to no
avail. Until she gets a meaningful love letter
that takes eight years to get there.
Strange movie. But fun.
TROUBLE IN MIND
Kris Kristofferson plays Hawk, a former
c o p who just got out of jail where he was
doing tim e for cold-blooded murder. Keith
Carradine plays Coop, a down-and-out
hippy, w hose girlfriend, Georgia, catches the
eye o f the desperately needy Hawk.
Little scenarios arrive and depart from the
central point of W anda's greasy spoon and
apartm ent building.
Genevieve Bujoid plays Wanda, and does
her usual fantastic job. Carradine is good, as
always, as Coop, who turns into a small time
hood with grandiose career plans, and Lori
Singer, as the blonde, innocent Georgia, is
adequately enough the fair tabula rasa.
Kristofferson is relatively wooden as actors
go, but that often works to his advantage, and
it d o es here, as Hawk is that kind of man who
has never m anaged to be close to anyone.
He’s a borderline hero/loser, with potential,
but flawed, doom ed even.
T h e story takes place in Rain City (Seattle),
and it's lots of fun to see so m any familiar
places in a major movie.
Hawk has fashioned a replica of the city he
se e s from Wanda's window. Car scen es are
interwoven from the real streets to the model,
which adds a quirky dimension to the
A s m aster gangster, Hilly Blue, Divine is
fine in this role. S cen es of him in his tawdry
palace are filled out with the m ost preposter
o u s assem blage o f partyers and trippy art
Militia appear everywhere in this movie;
seem ingly Rain City is a police state. But the
soldiers don’t bother any of the characters,
and everybody gets to m ove around freely.
Carradine as Coop, the small-time hood
who tries to get som e of the action away from
Hilly Blue, rapidly transforms himself to a
punk in the m ost outrageous polyester neon
threads, with cellophane highlights in his
funky haircut m ore earrings each time he
appears, and finally, eye makeup. He seem s
to care for Georgia, but only thinks of her
intermittently between sessions at the beauty
parlor and with hookers.
IMPRESSIVE WORK — by two filmmakers
w ho pulled o f great jo b s (low -budget even)
— PARTING GLANCES and THE DESERT
HEARTS. Watch for these!
The finest imported coffee
beans, teas, chocolates, and
beverage brewing accessories.
THE BROADWAY COFFEE MERCHANT
1637 N E Broadway • 284-9200
THE HAWTHORNE COFFEE MERCHANT
3562 S E Hawthorne • 230-1222
Altogether, these three m ovies are busy,
entertaining, off the wall. You have to pay
clo se attention to a lot of details, and the
overall effect is such that you will probably
still be confused when it’s over. Moreover,
there is so m uch humor, you might think
them com edies. But, laugh though we may,
the filmmakers' art reveals to us a world
where things are not so different from what
we have today. As a species, we are in serious
trouble, and in som e ways it is very funny,
since we think we should know better. In
other ways, it’s horrible.
Harry Joy falls to his death on his birthday,
has an out-of-body experience, and re tims
to life to find things so askew, he suspects he
m ay have died and gone to hell.
His wife is having an affair with his paunchy
The First-Year Reward.
FREE Guide shows how you could
save hundreds, even thousands,
o f dollars—this year.
ore and more people are
discovering that finan
cial planning can offer
major rewards-can save you as
much as thousands the first year,
depending on your income. “IDS
Financial Hanning: The First
Year Reward," tells: Why a big tax
refund is a bad sign. Tax strate
gies which could cut your taxes
within a year. Why you should
pay yourself first at the begin
ning of each month And more.
See the Spectacular
Mail coupon today
or call 2 5 5 -4 9 0 0
□ YES, please see that
receive your free guide,
x IDS Financial Plan
mng The First Year
^,, ;> Reward " 1 under
stand there is no oh
ligation on my part
h\ Giacomo Puccini
In Italian with SUPERTEXT ’
M ay 17,21 & 24,1986...8p.m .
7911 NE Halsey # 100
Portland, OR 97211
A d d ress
Phon e (
24I I 401
An American Express company
© IDS Financial Services Inc 198f>
I l k ' s\V s K O M > W t M \ • PORT I A N I U H M I N 47201
Just Out, May 1986