Today’s a big day for Terry Gilliam, the man behind films like Brazil and Time Bandits (and still the sole American member of the Monty Python comedy troupe); it’s the seventh day of this year’s Venice International Film Festival, which marks the world premiere of his latest picture, The Zero Theorem. A quick glance at any plot summary for the film reveals a story that sounds like prototypical Gilliam, and at just a minute and a half, the above clip – the first official footage for the production released to date – makes The Zero Theorem look like it’ll fit snugly within his body of work.
While there’s plenty reason to be excited about the film – not least of which is its cast, which includes Austrian Oscar-magnet Christoph Waltz, Peter Stormare, Ben Whishaw, David Thewlis, and Tilda Swinton, among others – this little teaser bit may be the best yet. In ninety-six seconds and without a single spoken line of dialogue (save for those barked by advertisements), this sequence quickly and effectively establishes Gilliam’s vision of the future as one where “Occupy Wall Street” has become a sales pitch, people get their news from duMBC, and lost souls can enlist with the church of Batman the Redeemer.
The clip comes courtesy of Collider, and should raise eyebrows in anticipation. There’s an absolutely enormous amount of detail to be found in this scene – it may take a few viewings to catch all of it, in fact – and that spells good things about what Gilliam has accomplished with The Zero Theorem. If nothing else, it should raise expectations quite high; though in light of his string of misses in the aughts - Tideland and The Brothers Grimm were critically reviled, while The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus has only a small cult following – they might be high enough already.
However, Gilliam proved long ago that he’s capable of greatness, and The Zero Theorem could see him in rare form yet again. Here’s the official synopsis for the film:
Qohen Leth is an eccentric and reclusive computer genius who lives in an Orwellian corporate world and suffers from existential angst. Under the instruction of a shadowy figure known only as “Management”, Qohen works to solve the “Zero Theorem” – a mathematical formula which will finally determine whether life has any meaning. Qohen’s work in the burnt-out chapel that serves as his home is interrupted by visits from Bainsley, a seductive woman, and Bob, the teenage son of Management.
Packaged with the clip is the above image, which features Qohen (Waltz) himself at work in what we can logically conclude is his home; like the clip, this shot boasts some excellent design detail that grows more impressive when taking the film’s reportedly small budget into consideration. At present, The Zero Theorem is shaping up to be an exciting release – but of course we’ll see whether or not Gilliam has succeeded as reactions begin coming out of Venice later today (and of course in four months, when the movie opens in US theaters for public consumption).
In the meantime, enjoy the clip, and let us know if you’re excited for Gilliam’s next project!
The Zero Theorem arrives in US theaters December 20th, 2013.