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Brazil (1985)

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NOTE: These commentaries are only available on the Criterion Collection release of Brazil (both the original and the remastered 2006 re-issue).

Commentaries on this disc:

Commentary 1: Director Terry Gilliam (on disc 1, the director's cut of the film) Rating:8.3/10 (76 votes) [graph]Login to vote or review
Reviewed by scroll2b on December 7th, 2004:Find all reviews by scroll2b
After listening to this commentary, is it any real surprise that it's the number one rated commentary on this site? Terry Gilliam proves his artistic genius and the mania that comes with. You'll hear all the details of how his ideas came to bear, how his opinions of today's society inform his art, and just the general hysterics of this once member of Monty Python. If anything, maybe it's his manic laugh that you'll remember the most. This rampage makes the 12 Monkeys commentary come off sedated, and receives a flat-out TEN.
Reviewed by pat00139 on March 27th, 2007:Find all reviews by pat00139
What a great track. Mr. Gilliam talks about everything. He talks about some of the special effects, the casting, the meaning of many of the scenes, the symbolism (or things that aren't symbolic), the studio, the sets, the locations, the costumes, the earlier and original draft ideas that didnít make it through and many, many other things. One thing that is very surprising is that Mr. Gilliam had never read 1984 before making the movie. That's just really interesting. You also learn that the overall budget of the movie was around 13 1/2 million dollars. The actresses that auditioned for the Jill character are also touched upon Ė Michelle Pfeiffer and Ellen Barkin are some of the ladies mentioned. You also hear Mr. Gilliam talk about some of the absurdity in real life that inspired much of what happens in the movie, like Mrs. Terrain's complete confidence in her plastic surgeon even though itís utterly unwarranted. He also talks about some of technical aspects of the movie like the choice of lenses and how some of the shots were achieved. All the scenes in the Ministry of Information Retrieval hallways, for example, were all done in the same hallway. You also hear much of Mr. Gilliam's philosophy about moviemaking, critics, Hollywood and the state of society as he sees it. It's an extremely informative and entertaining track. He almost never stops talking. A lot of new things are brought up by him that might not have been noticed before. It's very fascinating and will probably have to be listened to more than once to completely get what he has to say.
Reviewed by zombking on October 15th, 2007:Find all reviews by zombking
While Gilliam does get excited, and this makes it interesting, he also loses control of his own ego in the film, and spends much of it either complaining about how he was screwed over (even though he got the film released the way he wanted it, which most directors do not get) or how his philosophy regarding film is so great (it's nothing special, to be honest.) Still, he offers some good insights on the film and makes it a fun ride through the whole thing.
Reviewed by Pineapples101 on November 23rd, 2012:Find all reviews by Pineapples101
Not much I can add to the above except to say this track sets the bar for me in terms of commentary tracks. One of the first audio commentaries I ever listened to and one of the tracks I can return to over and over again.

Mr Gilliam is an excellent, informative and enthusiastic speaker. I cannot recommend this track enough.
Reviewed by grimjack on January 6th, 2015:Find all reviews by grimjack
So many details, and I bet he still doesn't cover 75% of what he wishes he could in the time. This a movie that bears repeated watchings, and a commentary you can listen to at least twice and still get something new.
Reviewed by reidca on March 19th, 2015:Find all reviews by reidca
Not much else to add. I was surprised how much he referred to George Lucas and Steven Spielberg - anyone would think he loves those films! It's also a bit surprising that he doesn't make much mention of the studio interference although I guess that has been covered considerably elsewhere. 9/10
Commentary 2: Brazil historian David Morgan (on disc 3, the studio's "Love Conquers All" cut of the film) Rating:7.1/10 (35 votes) [graph]Login to vote or review
Reviewed by pat00139 on February 28th, 2006:Find all reviews by pat00139
This commentary is interesting for comparative purposes only, really. In this track, Mr. Morgan basically states the differences between the directorís cut and the love-conquers-all version. Whatís nice, however, is that he also expands on the differences. He mentions the differences, then explains their consequences and what those mean to this version of the movie. In doing that, he subtly tells you why this version of the movie is utter rubbish. For example, if you cut out the fact that a character knows something very important, then that characterís actions donít make any sense anymore. (Example: SPOILER IN HERE: in this version of the movie, Sam doesnít know that Mrs. Buttleís husband is dead, so going through all the trouble with the cheque is inconsequential and quite useless. END OF SPOILER) Itís very interesting to hear.
Reviewed by Pineapples101 on November 23rd, 2012:Find all reviews by Pineapples101
Sid Sheinberg's Love concurs all version of Brazil make me beyond angry!. It's possibly the worst example of studio interference in the history of film. I find it near impossible to watch his version without commentary, so it's a definite plus that the commentary by David Morgan is as fascinating as it is.

Clearly a lot of time and effort was put into compiling the information for this track, this is the reason why I treasure Criterion commentaries so much.

It's actually a strangely unbiased track. Once Morgan discusses the message that Sheinberg wanted to get across, the rules he set's for his re-cut then Morgan is free to point out not only where Sheinberg contradicts himself (Tuttle being consumed by paperwork in the 'real world' being a prime example) but he also points out how Sheinberg actually accomplishes his goals in certain scenes.

I have to admit I would have personally found it hard to have remained as objective as Mr Morgan, if this was my track it would probably have been me shouting in disgust at the screen for 94 minutes.

A superb track. Especially for anyone interested in studio interference.
Reviewed by grimjack on January 9th, 2020:Find all reviews by grimjack
Sometimes it is worth discussing what was almost done to a film to point out how incredible it really is. This track is like that, but is completely unnecessary as Brazil is clearly a masterpiece. It is interesting at times to see how the studio incorrectly thought this and that could be changed, and would not lessen the film, and the commentary does a very thorough job of pointing these out. However it is redundant to point out the several dozen missing and moved scenes, and this version should never be watched anyway.

I will say however, that if you are going to watch this version, the only way to do it is with the commentary track. It is quite a time saver in that regard, as you should already know the film.