Director – Terry Jones – 1979 – UK – Cert. 12a – 93m
An absurdist comedy about of Brian, Jesus Christ’s next-door neighbour, who falls in with left-wing activists, develops a religious following and ends up crucified – back out in UK cinemas in Glorious Standard Definition on Friday, April 7th
Like The Last Temptation Of Christ (Martin Scorsese, 1988), a Biblical epic made by a New Yorker who tries to bring first century Palestine to life on the screen by filling it with actors who speak as if they’re on the streets he knows, so too Monty Python’s Life Of Brian, made by the Monty Python team, nurtured first by Oxbridge student drama society culture then by British radio and television, attempts a comic equivalent of the Christian Gospel narrative by filling it with characters possessing such quintessentially English names as Brian and Reg and sporting English accents. For the Pythons and their audience, this strategy works because of its familiarity from Britain’s hugely popular Monty Python’s Flying Circus television show, made for the BBC. It’s what everyone attending the film in the UK expected.
The Monty Python team (Terry Jones, Terry Gilliam, John Cleese, Graham Chapman, Eric Idle & Michael Palin) all wrote the film between them and take on multiple acting roles, with Jones also directing, animator Gilliam also taking on production design, and Chapman, who had studied medicine, also taking on the role of set medic.… Read the rest