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The Brothers Grimm
dir. Terry Gilliam / UK, Czech Republic, USA 2005 / 118’
subtitles: Polish and English


Matt Damon, Heath Ledger, Peter Stormare, Jonathan Pryce, Monica Bellucci, Lena Headey, Mackenzie Crook, Richard Ridings, Jan Unger, Jakub Zindulka


Central Ohio Film Critics Association 2006 – Actor of the Year

Film description

In this film shot under pressure from Hollywood producers, Gilliam weaves fantasy around the story of the famous German fairy tale collectors. In 18th-century French-occupied Germany, with Napoleonic conquest and administration in the background, the shrewd brothers make their living as travelling con artists. Advertising themselves as exorcists, they charge hefty fees for getting rid of ghosts and phantoms – which they previously manufacture to scare their unwitting customers. However, their talents are put to a more daunting test when they reach a village where girls have been disappearing under mysterious circumstances. When the Grimms’ fictionalized biographies interlace with fairy tale story lines, the effect is considerably closer to Gothic horror than Disney sweetness and the darkly twisted aesthetics recall the work of Tim Burton and Jan Švankmajer. The brothers’ conflicting characters personify the conflict between rationality and romanticism – a theme Gilliam explored previously in The Adventures of Baron Munchausen. Wilhelm Grimm speaks the voice of Enlightenment reason, while Jakob is a romantic dreamer. Given the spirit of Gilliam’s body of work, it is not difficult to guess that he sides wholeheartedly with Jakob – in The Brothers Grimm the director taunts conventional notions of common sense while creating an eccentric spectacle that brings us closer to his own perspective of reality.

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