Date of Award
Master of Arts
There are a number of reasons to compare readings of Modem Times and Brazil. The two films examine individual characters striving for love and personal fulfillment in the face of dehumanizing social climates, and each film's protagonist must enter his respective socioeconomic "machine" in order to achieve this fulfillment. Both films deal with the "dreams" a person has about realizing this fulfillment. Each movie clearly communicates skepticism concerning the mental and emotional stability of the individual in modernized society. In both Modem Times and Brazil there are also characters exhibiting traits traditionally assigned to members of the opposite sex. Both films approach the question of personal fulfillment—in modernized, obviously disempowering cultures—with a sense of humor. Both films take on weighty problems of their day, but see even the hopelessness of such problems without being weighed down by pessimism. Both films have narratives that are for the most part driven by random chance. All these similarities are what make the films suitable for comparison. But what is most interesting about the films only becomes evident if we go one step further and acknowledge that these two films are indeed versions of one another.
Digital Repository @ Iowa State University, http://lib.dr.iastate.edu
Peter Martin Koehn
April 25, 2013
Koehn, Peter Martin, "PostModern Times: re-reading Brazil" (1993). Retrospective Theses and Dissertations. 42.