May 2 - 8 | 2016

THE MEANING OF LIFE 

My emotions provoked & described by this guy. Ladies and gentleman, Terry Gilliam. [photo source: Time Out]

My emotions provoked & described by this guy. Ladies and gentleman, Terry Gilliam. [photo source: Time Out]

In a work week, consisting of only 3 working days, what is one to do? Catch up on movies, of course! (that IMDb Watchlist is not going to tick itself).

I can proudly say, in an excess to my brain & motion activity, that I spent a day watching Terry Gilliam's movies. I would've continued had I not been required to go out and be social(ly adequate). I went through The Fisher King (1991), Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas (1998), and Monty Python's Meaning of Life (1983) in one go. While I would definitely recommend the first two, The Meaning of Life is a pure masterpiece on my list. 

The Meaning of Life (1983), written by Monty Python, directed by Terry Gilliam & Terry Jones 

The Meaning of Life (1983), written by Monty Python, directed by Terry Gilliam & Terry Jones 

As I am continuously swirling through quarter-of-a-century-life-crisis (the golden 25), I keep going back and forth to the question of life & death. "What is the point of life when we all die sooner or later" etc. etc... Monty Python (the British comedy collective which is arguably one of the best ever) maps out the stages of life in distinct chapters, through sketches, starting from birth and ending with death. The writers wittily impose the issues concerning each stage of life, through absurd life situations that only very-damaged-but-brilliant-brains can invent. I'm providing a short review of each life stage below (and some videos here and there), but my advice is to disregard it and watch the movie straight away! 

Part 1: The Miracle of Birth

A woman in labour is taken to hospital where the staff is busier with deciding which expensive equipment to use than to take care of their patient. When the baby is born it is quickly shown to the woman and put away. When the mother asks the child's gender, the answer is:

Brilliant.

The Miracle of Birth Part 2: The Third World 

A Roman Catholic man goes home to his wife and (impossible to count) number of kids to announce that he has lost his job. As a result he won't be able to feed his children and has to sell them for medical testing. Quoted:

Dad: That's the way it is my loves. Blame the Catholic Church for not letting me wear one of those little rubber things. Oh, they've done some wonderful things in their time. They preserved the might and majesty, even the mystery, of the Church of Rome, the sanctity of the sacrament, and the indivisible oneness of the Trinity. But if they'd let me wear one of those little rubber things on the end of my cock, we wouldn't be in the mess we are now.

Those rubber things are sooo anti-Christian. Afterwards the whole family sings "Every Sperm is Sacred" (video below). Quite a catchy tune. 

PART 2: GROWTH AND LEARNING

This one is not a favourite of mine. But neither was school. How school looks in Monty Python's life lessons: A sex ed class where the students are as bored as participating in a history lesson. At one point the professor physically demonstrates sexual techniques with his wife. Nobody's impressed. I.e. if we weren't tabooing sex so much, it would've been quite an ordinary everyday thing. 

PART 3: FIGHTING EACH OTHER

Comprised of three sketches, the last one is my favourite. It's set in 1879 in the Anglo-Zulu War, where a British officer wakes up to find his leg has been bitten off during the night. The dialogue is tremendous!

Ainsworth: During the night old Perkins had his leg bitten sort of... off.
Dr. Livingstone: Eh? Been in the wars, have we? Well, let's take a look at this one leg of yours. Yes... Yes, well, this is nothing to worry about.
Perkins: Oh, good.
Dr. Livingstone: There's a lot of it about — probably a virus. Keep warm, plenty of rest, and if you're playing any football try and favour the other leg.
Perkins: So it'll just grow back again, will it?
Dr. Livingstone: Er… I think I'd better come clean with you about this. It's not a virus, I'm afraid. You see, a virus is what we doctors call 'very, very small'. So small, it could not possibly have made off with the whole leg. What we're looking for here for is, I think — and this is no more than an educated guess, I'd like to make that clear — is some multicellular life form with stripes, huge razor-sharp teeth, about eleven feet long, and of the genus felis horribilis — what we doctors, in fact, call a tiger.
[Outside the tent the British soldiers and Zulus immediately stop fighting, looking around in shock.]
Everyone: A TIGER!? IN AFRICA!?

   

Part 4: Middle Life

A middle-aged American couple goes to a restaurant where the menu offers topic for conversation. The couple decides to try "philosophy and the meaning of life". After struggling for a bit, they send it back to the waiter, complaining that "this conversation isn't very good". Yep, they rather be ignorant, like most of the population.

Part 5: Live Organ Transplants

Paramedics visit a card-carrying organ donor to collect his liver, even though, as he points out, he is still alive. They go on and gather most of his internal organs anyway. 

Part 6: The Autumn Years 

Incredibly obese person visits a restaurant where he keeps stuffing his face and vomiting in-between. A romantic scenery. Emblematic to our overly satisfied society that keeps wanting more and more. VIEWER DISCRETION IS ADVISED. (or, don't watch while eating).

Part 7: Death 

This part consists of three sketches, and my favourite being the first where a man chooses the manner of his own execution: to be chased off the edge of a cliff by a horde of topless women. 

THE END OF THE FILM

So, what is the final message, as in - What is the meaning of life, according to Monty Python? 

"Try and be nice to people, avoid eating fat, read a good book every now and then, get some walking in, and try and live together in peace and harmony with people of all creeds and nations"