Jump to content

The Zero Theorem (2013)


Overstreet
 Share

Recommended Posts

Gilliam to helm Zero Theorem.

QUOTE
From /Film via Tout Le Cine comes the news Terry Gilliam and Billy Bob Thornton are to team for Zero Theorem, with shooting set to commence May 1st.

Thornton will play a "tormented, reclusive genius trying to find final answers to the many enigmas of existence."

P.S.  I COULD BE WRONG.

 

Takin' 'er easy for all you sinners at lookingcloser.org. Also abiding at Facebook and Twitter.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 years later...

Now starring Christoph Waltz.

The Zero Theorem is set in a world that seems right in Gilliam’s wheelhouse. Living in an Orwellian corporate world where “mancams” serve as the eyes of a shadowy figure known only as Management, Leth (Waltz) works on a solution to the strange theorem while living as a virtual cloistered monk in his home—the shattered interior of a fire-damaged chapel.

IMDB doesn't seem to know this movie exists, BTW.

It's the side effects that save us.
--The National, "Graceless"
Twitter Blog

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 10 months later...

And the big surprise is that it looks just like... a Terry Gilliam film.

And the leaked trailer has already been taken down.

I looked for it on YouTube and found a video of some still photos from the set, followed by instructions on how to convert to Islam.

Edited by Tyler

It's the side effects that save us.
--The National, "Graceless"
Twitter Blog

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It looks like BRAZIL all over again, but with a bald Christoph Waltz in an undershirt in the Jonathan Pryce role, guided through some kind of futuristic hell by David Thewlis, and lots of kaleidoscopic digital animation.

P.S.  I COULD BE WRONG.

 

Takin' 'er easy for all you sinners at lookingcloser.org. Also abiding at Facebook and Twitter.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 4 weeks later...

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...
  • 4 months later...

Since all of the earlier versions of the trailer have been taken down:

 

 

Gru from Despicable Me visits the beach from Moonrise Kingdom. Now you won't be able to get that image out of your head, either.

Edited by Tyler

It's the side effects that save us.
--The National, "Graceless"
Twitter Blog

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 5 months later...

But....  just 23 years ago the MPAA was o.k. with the seven naked ladies on this poster...

silence_of_the_lambs_moth_zps4623d94e.jp

Edited by John Drew

Formerly Baal_T'shuvah

"Everyone has the right to make an ass out of themselves. You just can't let the world judge you too much." - Maude 
Harold and Maude
 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...

Not sure at all what to make of this. But the beach scenes manage to capture what is so great about Joe vs. the Volcano.

"...the vivid crossing of borders between film and theology may save the film from the banality of cinema and festival business, and it may also save the church from the deep sleep of the habitual and the always known."

(Hans Werner Dannowski)

Filmwell | Twitter

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yes and no in terms of being nihilistic:  on a cosmic scale, yes; but on a personal scale, yea and nay.  Qohen has the opportunity for meaningful relationships with Bainsley and Bob.  There are interesting parallels in the spiritual search language used by Qohen and the human relationship language used by Bainsley. 

 

Here's my review:  http://www.patheos.com/blogs/tinseltalk/2014/08/the-zero-theorem-dir-terry-gilliam/ - this is a bright spot among recent dim sci-fi ventures (I still haven't recovered from the awful Lucy).

To be an artist is never to avert one's eyes.
- Akira Kurosawa

https://www.patheos.com/blogs/secularcinephile/

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There are interesting parallels in the spiritual search language used by Qohen and the human relationship language used by Bainsley.

If/when you have more time, could you summarize them? This sounds a like a genius observation, but I couldn't find a discussion of it in your review.

 

Here's my review:  http://www.patheos.com/blogs/tinseltalk/2014/08/the-zero-theorem-dir-terry-gilliam/ - this is a bright spot among recent dim sci-fi ventures ...

Great review, by the way. The more I think about this film, the more I love it. I know you said that much of the film looks like Gilliam has done it before, but when you compare him to other Hollywood films, that bothers me less and less. I'd also prefer his films looked like each other than not. It gets to where his films as a body of work can seem to populate the same universe (plenty of authors have done that, so why not film directors too?).

 

Qohen is repeatedly haunted by this image [of the black hole], which is held in tense opposition to his god delusion. Ever since an anonymous aborted phone call (most likely from a salesperson), he has waited obsessively for the Second Calling, when his unique purpose will be manifest. At that first call, Qohen felt “a rush of joy, power,” and now he eagerly longs for the next, consummating fix. In the meantime, he lives blandly and reclusively in a burnt out monastery, surrounded by weathered images of saints and an overhanging crucifix from which the head of Jesus has been removed and replaced by a video camera.

If this paragraph alone isn't a reason why this thread needs to turn into a full blown A&F conversation, I don't know what is.

 

Looking at the world outside his door, it’s hard to fault Qohen for his purpose-driven compulsion. Director Terry Gilliam succeeds in taking Western society’s foibles and making them simultaneously recognizable and horrifying. Our crazy mélange of technology, porn on demand, fanatic religiosity, and overcommercialization has been ramped up on steroid megadoses. Safe sex can now be experienced in a virtual locale of one’s choosing by way of “tantric biometric interfacing,” and every possible space is coated with loud, mobile, gaudy advertisements. Many of these ads promote insanely personalized religions, whether the Church of Batman the Redeemer or (in one of the movie’s funniest moments) “the Church of Intelligent Design, reach[ing] out to the special you.”

It's another one of those reasons to love Gilliam. So much of his humor is there in the background or on the set and you'll miss it if you're not paying close enough attention.

On a side note, calling a film Nihilistic, as it seems many reviewers are doing of this film, is a tricky proposition. It’s a label that is now much too casually used. First, you have films that are called nihilistic for simply not having a happy ending (in something like American Psycho or Dr. Strangelove). But a sad ending does not nihilism make. That’s called a tragedy and tragedies traditionally engage in cultural criticism.

Secondly, you have films called nihilistic for how they deconstruct or critique something like a cultural convention or genre (see A Cabin in the Woods or Seven Psychopaths) or human vice or sin (see Dogville or again, Dr. Strangelove). But that doesn’t mean the filmmaker or the purpose of the film is nihilistic. Satire does not equal nihilism.

Thirdly, and probably most understandably, you have films with characters who are actually and literally asking questions about purpose and meaning (see Barton Fink, A Serious Man), but just because a character does not spell out a literal answer in the film’s dialogue does not mean the filmmakers mean that fact as a negative answer. This is probably closest to The Zero Theorum - but the imagery, the humor, the imagination, and all the things that are critiqued give this film, in my opinion, a moral center that is far from nihilistic.

Besides, the ending of a film does is not always the point of a film (remember Gilliam’s Brazil, or almost any of Gilliam's films for that matter).  In contrast, I find films (some of which have art and beauty in them) whose points seem to be negating the moral world and attacking the significance of human life to be nihilistic (like Funny Games or Melancholia). The Zero Theorum doesn’t feel like that at all.

Also, Tilda Swinton is amazing - if one were to look at even only her roles in the years 2013 and 2014, one would find that the word "typecasting" could never be applied to her.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The ending of BRAZIL absolutely summarizes its theme (which is Gilliam's greatest theme, one his films reiterate over and over again, most directly in TIDELAND): imagination is the only true escape from a hostile, insane world.

THE ZERO THEOREM is nihilistic insofar as it is very clear about the lack of any ultimate purpose or meaning. The best we can do is to embrace the void rather than fear it, taking solace in fleeting beauty and connection while abandoning any quest for God (the "phone call" is a delusion reinforced by those in power for the purposes of manipulation). Which isn't to say that the film is inhumane--THE ZERO THEOREM is a far cry from MELANCHOLIA--but it *is* bleak.

Edited by Ryan H.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks so much, Jeremy.  That means a lot, considering that your reviews are quite rigorous in their analyses. 

 

Dang it, I wish I had saved the notes I took on viewing this film for a second time, because it was there that I noted the parallels between Bainsley's and Qohen's relationship language.  If you listen for it, the similarities are glaring, in their use of words such as 'longing' and 'connection.'

To be an artist is never to avert one's eyes.
- Akira Kurosawa

https://www.patheos.com/blogs/secularcinephile/

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...

Wired has posted an interview.

 

There's nothing too insightful there, but I'm hoping this perspective comes through in the film:

"That's the part of the modern world that I really despise. There's no history—everything exists only in nanoseconds."

 

 

I never really interpreted Brazil and it's like as anything too nihilistic. I dont' see the principle characters portrayed as an ideal response to the situation (ie, insanity, retreating into imagination), but rather that the entire situation is insane and is best to be avoided for the sake of what we treasure. Dystopian films have recently lost any sense of self-awareness (I'm thinking primarily of the recent Robocop), so I'm excited to see Gilliam do his thing again. He's inviting a lot of comparison to Brazil, and I'm sure he's aware of that. I'm really hoping to be able to draw some comparisons to the works of Cory Doctorow, particularly Little Brother, in how it responds to the implications of pervasive surveillance, both by mandate and willing participation.

 

Edit: Oh my, I hadn't realized this actually got released last year. I know what I'm doing tonight.

Edited by Jehar
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...