Thursday, July 19, 2012

Fear and Time Bandits in Brazil


Last Sunday I was invited to a joint birthday party of two friends of mine in Rome's Jewish Ghetto.  Because I was showing up after a day at the beach in Sperlonga, followed by a dinner party at my house, I didn't have time to throw together a costume in sync with the theme of the night.  I was the only one there who wasn't dressed like a character out of The Great Gatsby.

By 2 am, most of the guests had left.  A few of the remaining girls were doing the Charleston in the middle of the living room floor, while the rest of us broke into a fifteen-year-old bottle of Glenfiddich one of them had brought back from Scotland.

Somehow we got on the topic of Terry Gilliam movies, specifically whether or not The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnasus is any good.  I'd seen it recently, and had mixed feelings.  My friend Graham jumped into the conversation saying he loved it because it's the culmination of everything Gilliam's done since Monthy Python.  I asked what he meant by that.

"All Gilliam's movies are about the same thing," he said.

"And that is?"

"What's real and what's not."

I felt like I'd had my mind completely fucking blown for the next five minutes.  I tried to think of any example that disproved what he'd just said, but I couldn't come up with a single one.  Everything from Doctor Parnasus to The Fischer King to Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas is about the debatable place where reality ends and imagination begins.

If any of you can come up with a counter-example, I'd love to hear it.

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