Last weekend I watched a film called The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus. It’s directed by Terry Gilliam. The story was about a circus, they were travelling around London and take charge of 5 pounds to realize people’s dreams. The head of the circus was Doctor Parnassus. When he was young, he was a monk living in the mountains. However, one day a business man broke the peace of his temple. The business man told Doctor Parnassus if he stop praying, he might broke the balance of the universe, but the world would still be running like nothing happened. The temple seemed to be in Tibet, the religion seemed to be Buddism. So Doctor Parnassus stopped praying and was abandoned by his God. He became a begger in the street. Later he found a cirsus which included his daughter, a dwarf and Anton. One day they saved a man who was hanging himself under a bridge. His name was Tony. Tony ran charity business and was being treated like a cheater.
Tony broke the balance of the circus, he changed the style of they performance and made it more modern. And he fell in love with Doctor’s daughter, it made Anton jealous of them. In the bet with the business man, Doctor Parnassus agreed that if he failed to attract 5 audience to their show, he would give up his daughter to the business man. So they moved the stage to a modern department store. At first, things went smoothly, they persuaded an old lady to their show and charge her 5 pounds. The old lady realize her dream in the magic mirror on the stage. She became yound again and met her lover in the dream. Tony changed into different men in the audiences’ dreams. In the end they attract four persons to their show. Who would be the last one, surprisingly it’s the Doctor’s daughter. In her dream, she bacame partner of Tony and they were very successful in their charity business and were presented to the president.
Unfortunately in the dream, people found out that Tony was a cheater and they began to chase him. He had no way to go but to climb up a mountain and was hanged by the people who was chasing him. This time, nobody came to save him, so he died. In reality, the actor who was staring Tony, Heath Ledger mysteriously died in his apartment in New Yorker. This accident made the production of the film difficult. Heath had lots of friends in Hollywood, so three famous actor took his part instead, who were Johnny Depp, Jude Law and Colin Farrell. So these stars made the film more attractive to common audience. And the film turned out to be a success.
This film made me think of 12 Monkeys and Brazil, both of them are black humorous films. The first one was starring by Bruce Willis and Brad Pitt. The story happened in 2035. James was a prisoner in the future world, and scientists sent him back to 1996 to investigate a mysterious virus which killed 99% of the population on earth later. In Brazil, Sam was a little clerk in the Central Investigation Department. He had a dream about flying and a beautiful girl. To realize the dream, he lost his job and was sent to lunatic asylum.
In the three films above, the director, Terry Gilliam, shows us a black and despairing world. In the first film, the Doctor had given up his career as a monk and had nowhere to live, but travelling around with his circus. In 12 monkeys, James was sent to a dangerous place with deadly virus. In Brazil, the future world was full of police and bureaucracy. Terry’s characters were all living on the edge of life and could not be accepted by the main stream world. On the contrary to their poor living conditions, they found the cause of the disease of the society, which was quite ironical. (The end)