In Praise of Brazil’s Energetic Office Theme Music

Brazil Film
Brazil?

The other week we reviewed the fantastic Brazil, but didn’t really point out how strangely wonderful its soundtrack is. Michael Kamen composed the score with the National Philharmonic Orchestra and, although the film features a leitmotif in the form of the Aquarela do Brasil by Ary de Resende Barroso, there’s a shorter piece of music we prefer a great deal.

Brazil: Office Theme

If you’ve seen the film, you’ll know one of the early scenes features this piece of music pretty much in its entirety. It’s a fast-paced, energetic, and uplifting number which kind of encapsulates the madness and stupidity of the berauracracy on display. It’s rounded off with a little swirl of Aquarela do Brasil, which is a clever touch!

Kamen died in 2003 aged only 55, but some of his other credits include Die Hard, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, and Band of Brothers. The latter is, arguably, the most enduring of projects he worked on, although Brazil should certainly be ranked as one of the greatest films of all time. Make no mistake! Its music has also had something of a lasting legacy.

As a lot of modern movie-goers are dumb philistines who don’t watch classic films, modern production studios can go ahead and use Kamen’s work again. As you can hear above from Bee Movie, which the score seems perfectly suited to, it’s a reasonably neat little fit. The composition bumbles along like a bumble bee!

It’s then interrupted by some pop music stuff, but its somewhat fitting the Brazil music is used to highlight the nature of the mindless daily slog for most of the planet (as Gilliam intended back in 1985). But hey, when you have 42 billionaires with the combined wealth of the 3.7 billion poorest (as revealed this week), you know capitalism is working its capricious wonders for the 1%!

What Is Brazil?

If you’re interested in the film, there’s a quirky documentary which was recorded during the making of the film. There are some serious interviews in there, but also Michael Palin messing about and the lesser known, but also excellent, Charles McKeown doing his groovy thing. It’s an offbeat look at what was a legendarily difficult shoot, with Gilliam and the studio execs at loggerheads throughout. Fun!

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