Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
The Cinema of Terry GilliamIt's a Mad World$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Jeff Birkenstein, Anna Froula, and Karen Randell

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780231165358

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231165358.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM COLUMBIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.columbia.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Minnesota Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CUPSO for personal use.date: 01 July 2022

The Subversion of Happy Endings in Terry Gilliam’s Brazil

The Subversion of Happy Endings in Terry Gilliam’s Brazil

(p.66) Chapter Five The Subversion of Happy Endings in Terry Gilliam’s Brazil
The Cinema of Terry Gilliam

Jeffrey Melton

Eric Sterling

Columbia University Press

This chapter discusses Terry Gilliam's focus on dreams and their ability to enable characters to escape from the tedium and trauma of their modern lives. These characters battle with both inner demons and the outer world in troubled efforts to save their humanity. In Brazil (1985), the dream is the ultimate escape from the horrific circumstances in which the main protagonist, Sam Lowry, finds himself. The film demonstrates the power of the state to stifle or blunt imagination by erasing self-identity. Those in control of the system dehumanise the citizenry through excessive use of and obsession with numbers and forms, all of which serve as signifiers of a bureaucracy of total control. However, Lowry shows that hope exists for the human spirit in developing the capacity to dream a human memory of freedom even though everything in his culture has conspired to deny him the capacity to do such things.

Keywords:   dreams, Brazil, humanity, Sam Lowry, imagination, self-identity, freedom, total control

Columbia Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .