August 20, 2012

Messing Up the Messiah: A Look at HOLY FLYING CIRCUS

I have to admit, I often love the occasional "docu-drama". You know, the kind of TV movie that takes elements of the truth, whips them up into a nice, frothy fictional fondue, and entertains and educates?

Recently, I caught the soon-to-be-released-in-September version of Holy Flying Circus, a 2011 BBC television movie that dramatizes the controversy around their 1979 movie Life of Brian....and I have to say, this is a must-watch, on every level.

One of the best things about this movie is the acting - all of the actors (aside from Phil Nichols as Terry Gilliam) are dead-on in their portrayals. Thankfully, the movie uses Michael Palin (Charles Edwards) as the "audience identification" character, providing the movie a solid emotional core.

In fact, one of the nice things about the movie is that it takes a very Pythonesque approach to the material - it knows it's a dramatization, and plays with it. Please allow me to post two clips to demonstrate much better than I can describe:

In short, a masterpiece. It's supposed to come to Blu-Ray in September; hopefully, a DVD release will also be immanent. But quite easily, this is one of the best pieces of television ever made.

Track this down. You'll thank me later.

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