I like my art with a little shrapnel

"That's all I've tried to do — leave bits of shrapnel in them like I've had bits of shrapnel left in me from other films. We entertain as best we can, but we also try to reach people."

That's from a Gizmodo interview with Terry Gilliam that came out about when The Zero Theorem was released. It's not new, but it's really, really worth reading. Some people struggle to add anything of interest when discussing their art, but Gilliam is not on that list. 

I've seen Terry Gilliam's The Zero Theorem three or four times now and it's one of the stickiest movies I've ever seen. I mean this in the sense that I keep thinking about it, and about how bits of it connect to reality in weird and unexpected ways. Gilliam describes himself as a cartoonist, someone who's showing reality in a distorted way in order to make his point. He's also a poet, in that he uses visual metaphors that on the surface make no sense (try to describe Qohen's job to your friends and see how mad you sound), but which can be easily understood by watching his films. 

I love the idea of art leaving shrapnel in people. I get that, and he's a master of it. His Brazil was the first film I can remember that hit me that way. It was also the first film I remember having to see multiple times before I "got" it. 

It's not just Gilliam or even films that do this to me. The first time I read John Steinbeck's East of Eden, I wasn't able to sleep for a couple of days because it messed up my worldview so severely (and, just for the record, for the better). Public Enemy's Fear of a Black Planet lit up several of my blind spots, not the least of which was I had no idea hip hop could be that powerful. Grant Morrison's The Invisibles, especially volume three, still mess me up. Obviously, "Black Mirror" is designed specifically to be this kind of weaponized art, and it succeeds more often than not.

There are more, of course, but I didn't want to turn this into a "list post," I just wanted to share Mr. Gilliam's insights. Again, I can't recommend reading the whole interview strongly enough.