BRAZIL Frequently Asked Questions
Copyright 1994-1998 David S. Cowen
Release 1.4, Last-modified: 1998/7/17
7. What are the lyrics to Brazil? Is a soundtrack available?
Where hearts were entertaining June
We stood beneath an amber moon
And softly murmured someday soon…
And clung together
Tomorrow was another day
The morning found me miles away *
With still a million things to say
When twilight dims the skies above **
Recalling thrills of our love
There’s one thing I’m certain of
(NOTES: * In some versions, this line is “The morning found US miles away”
** In some versions, this line is “When twilight dims the STARS
The soundtrack by Michael Kamen is available on compact disc, Milan 35636-2. The disc features music from the film as well as snippets of dialogue and the title track sung by Kate Bush. The recording is excellent, and the disc offers insightful liner notes written by Steven Smith, Terry Gilliam and Michael Kamen.
Music From The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack BRAZIL (Michael Kamen)
CD: 1993 US (Milan 35636-2)
1:41 Central Services / The Office
2:10 Sam Lowry’s 1st Dream / “Brazil” (vocal by Kate Bush)
3:00 Waiting for Daddy / Sam Lowry’s Wetter Dream “The Monoliths Erupt”
1:15 Truck Drive
1:34 The Restaurant (You’ve Got To Say the Number)
1:14 Mr. Helpmann
0:45 The Elevator
2:07 Jill Brazil / Power Station
1:03 The Party (Part 1) / Plastic Surgery
1:53 Ducting Dream
3:26 Brazil (Performed by Geoff Muldaur, from the Geoff and Maria Muldaur album _Pottery Pie_)
1:18 Days and Nights in Kyoto – The Party (Part 2)
1:46 The Morning After
4:30 The Battle
1:50 Harry Tuttle – “A Man Consumed By Paperwork”
1:44 Mother’s Funeral / Forces of Darkness
2:26 Escape ! No Escape !
2:51 Bachianos Brazil Samba
8. The sets are stunning. Where were they filmed?
The sets in BRAZIL were designed to look like “the century was compacted into a single moment,” the style being eclectic. In order to create this sort of mood, Gilliam’s film was shot on-location at many locations in Europe.
Sam’s apartment building actually existed in France, at the Marne la Vallee, a huge apartment complex designed by Ricardo Bofil. The truck chase, with Sam and Jill outrunning the security pursuit vans as well as shots of Sam walking home from the transporter station were filmed there. The site of Marne la Vallee is now the site of EuroDisney.
Dr. Jaffe’s surgery room, where Ida Lowry receives her cosmetic treatment early in the film, was shot in Leighton’s House, the home of Lord Leighton. Leighton was a Victorian artist and collector of moorish tiles.
The clerk’s pool where Sam works in the Records Department was shot in an abandoned grain mill in London’s Dockland. The mill was sprayed with gray paint, and flour sifters were turned into benches. This same location was used for the corridors of the Information Retrieval department where Sam goes after being promoted. The giant holes in the ceiling are the bottoms of twelve-story-high grain silos.
The restaurant where Sam, Ida, Mrs. Terrain and Shirley have lunch was shot in Mentmore Towers, part of the former Rothschild mansion in Buckinghamshire. It was the center for Transcendental Meditation at the time Gilliam was filming BRAZIL.
Sam’s mother’s apartment was filmed in the Liberal Club in London, located next to old Scotland Yard.
The Information Retrieval torture chamber where Sam is interrogated was shot in a cooling tower at a power station in South London. The stunt men who rescue Sam during his interrogation had to descend a distance of 170 feet to 9-inch wide metal spines 40 feet above the ground for Sam’s escape scene.
The Croydon power station was used for the setting of the basement of the Ministry of Information, as well as an exterior scene where Sam “arrests” Jill in her truck.
9. What do all the signs say?
Few of the propaganda signs were in the original script of BRAZIL.
They can be credited to co-scriptwriter Charles McKeown, who played Sam’s smarmy co-worker at Information Retrieval. Also, most every object in the film has a stencilled part number or Ministry of Information logo on it.
In the Department Of Records:
“The Truth Shall Make You Free” – on statue
“Information Is The Key To Prosperity. A Ministry Of Information” – sign above security stall.
“Help The Ministry Of Information Help You” – poster on wall
“Be Safe: Be Suspicious” – sign on wall
“Loose Talk Is Noose Talk” – poster on the wall of the computer room
“Suspicion Breeds Confidence” – sign
Ministry of Information logos are stamped on many of the small items in Kurtzmann’s office, such as the teacup given to Lowry and the fishbowl.
These are nearly impossible to see on video.
Shangri La Towers:
“Happiness: We’re all in it together” – Billboard
(This billboard is copied from a sign that appeared throughout the United States during the depression.)
“Mellowfields. Top Security Holiday Camps. Luxury without fear. Fun
without suspicion. Relax in a panic free atmosphere.” – advert on wall above children playing.
“Reality” – graffiti on wall
“Shangorilla Towers” – Shangri-la tower’s defaced sign.
“DO NOT FOLD, SPINDLE, MUTILATE” – stencilled on concrete wall inside.
Mr Lime’s Office at Info. Retrieval:
“Trust in haste, Regret at leisure” – poster on wall
“Don’t suspect a friend, report him” – poster on wall (also seen in both Lint and Kutzmann’s offices)
Jack’s Office at Info. Retrieval:
“Who can you trust?” – poster on wall
“Mind that parcel. Eagle eyes can save a life.” – poster on wall
“Power today. Pleasure tomorrow.” – poster seen when the house gets lifted.
“Consumers for Christ” – banner carried by band in the mall.
“Utopia Railways” – ad in the street when Sam blows up the building.
“Keep your city tidy” – sign on the trash can.
10. What is Information Retrieval charging?
A subplot that many viewers of BRAZIL seem to miss entirely is that of Information Retrieval charging. “Information Retrieval” is a euphemism for “interrogation” or “torture.” The extent of Information Retrieval Charging is revealed in Deputy Minister Conrad Helpmann’s interview, which is shown on the telescreen while a technician swipes at the beetle which determines the fate of the movie. The interviewer asks the Deputy Prime Minister about the economics of the terrorist situation, and the Deputy Prime Minister replies:
“I understand this concern on behalf of the taxpayers.
People want value for money. That’s why we always
insist on the principal of Information Retrieval
charges. It’s absolutely right and fair that those
found guilty should pay for their periods of detention
and the Information Retrieval procedures used in their
The check Lowry delivers to Mrs. Buttle is a check for the amount debited from the Buttle’s charge account when Mr. Buttle was interrogated and killed (because of Information Retrieval’s torturous methods) early in the film. The police officer says to Sam after he is strapped into the chair at the torture chamber “Don’t fight it son, confess quickly. If you hold out too long, you could jeopardize your credit rating.” Note that this is not merely a funny line; a scene present only in the ER (and presumably in the forthcoming laserdisc) has a MOI official arranging a way for Sam to pay his charges via installments.
Inspiration for this subplot may have possibly stemmed from German history — the Nazis were known to charge Jews for their forced passage to the concentration camps. Gilliam has mentioned that he discovered that South American countries were also charging for interrogation and torture, and the practice was also used during the Salem witch trials.