Life Of Brian -- Movie Review

By Paul Christ
Published on Apr 30th, 2009

There is already written a lot about the movie "Life of Brian" from Monty Python, but after 30 years this movie is still up to date. And it is still funny as hell, to stay within the theme here.

Like all good satires, it holds a mirror to society, it may be a little distorted to assert an absurd situation, but it is still an actual reflection. When it came out, the movie was banned in a lot of places because it was seen as a sacrilege against Christianity. Well it is not. The movie is not a satire to religion itself but a satire to how some people deal with it.

It is a satire about human behaviour.

If you see it in the timeframe that is was made, it is also a satire about all the political movements that were trying to rule Britain and the Continent (the rest of Europe seen through British eyes.) An example of this in the movie is a lot of talking in committees and nothing actually being done. (Like that is not still happening?)

In the United States there is a two party political system, I believe there is also an Independent Party that has never had much power. Well, in Europe, there is a multiparty culture. Every "movement" has it's own party: religious, left wing, right wing, centre, just from the right centre, just from the left centre, party for animals, "people who got thrown out of their party but still have a seat in parliament", yes just like the Popular Judeans Front in the movie.-"Where is he ? He is over there..... SPLITTER !!!"

Life of Brian actually deals with multiple issues at the same time in many scenes. The movie shows that however bad a situation or an 'occupation ' is, there are also upsides. In the scene where Cleese is leader of the PFJ, .... asks "what have the Romans ever done for us? " Well, apparently, a lot, other then oppressing. This clearly has that whole committee thing pointed out, lot's of talk no actions. At the same time it clearly says, yes we are occupied but there are roads, safety, plumbing, schooling etc.

Then there is always something to complain about. The story of the ex-leper, he is cured, but now he has lost his income. He wants money from Brian and basically starts complaining that he is out of income because he is cured. Brian then says, "Well, there is no pleasing some people", from which the ex-leper replies, "That's just what Jesus said, sir".

These scenes are still up to date as there are a growing number of people in former Eastern Germany and Russia that want to go back to the old regimes. Yes, there was less freedom, but everyone had work and a minimum standard of welfare.

As with all the multiparty systems today, Life of Brian has all the different organizations with the same basic objective, to free Judea, with each organization having their own agenda on how to do so. This brings me to the last point I want to discuss, the fact that there are so many different organizations and religions in the world today. People have different views, make different interpretations and make their own priorities. Which is fine of course, but it can get a bit much.

I mean, here in the Netherlands, which is a small country, based on the Bible, there are over 900 different church communities?. And they all individually, strongly believe that they are the ones that have it right. One of the problems on how this works is also in the movie where Brian runs from the crowd and looses a gourd and a sandal. Immediately, the group of Brian followers splits in two, one that sees the gourd as a "sign" and the other the sandal. Now both items are from Brian, so who's right? You tell me.

Apart from my opening statement that it is still funny and up to date, this caught my eye 3 weeks ago. After 30 years the ban was lifted to show the movie in the village Aberyswyth in Wales, Great Britain. The article said that no one had ever bothered to lift the ban. It so happens that the present mayor of Aberysweyth is Sue Jones-Davies. I don't blame you if you don't know who that is, but she played the part of Brian's girlfriend Judith in the movie.

So go see the movie, again or for the first time, it deserves to be seen.

Even after 30 years.

Filed under Reviews

Author Bio :: Paul Christ

Paul Christ began training in Ed Parker's Kenpo in 1983, reaching Black Belt in 1992. In 1993, although a career police officer, Mr. Christ began working with students, mainly his colleagues but also taught at other studio's. Paul has also taught in, Germany, Belgium, Austria, Ireland and the United States. Paul was presented with the prestigious Ed Parker Award in 2003 for his contributions to Kenpo. That same year, Mr. Christ was promoted by Professor Skip Hancock as his first European Black Belt in Kenpo 2000. Mr. Christ is a student of Skip Hancock.

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