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The Crimson Permanent Assurance
dir. Terry Gilliam / UK 1983 / 16’
subtitles: Polish


Sydney Arnold, Guy Bertrand, Andrew Bicknell, Ross Davidson, Myrtle Devenish, Tim Douglas, Eric Francis, Matt Frewer, Michael Palin, Graham Chapman, Terry Gilliam, Terry Jones

Film description

A group of elderly accountancy office workers enslaved by a giant corporation stir up a brutal revolt; threatening young downsizing experts with lethal force and paper spikes, the zesty gentlemen literally unmoor the office building from its foundations and set out to conquer the business world. Originally intended to be a part of Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life, this short assumed sufficient critical mass to become a stand-alone production, though it is usually considered a prologue to the aforementioned film. The rich stage design and scale of the staging concept make it perfect for the big screen, and The Crimson Permanent Assurance uses animation combined with live actors enabling buildings to sail (as seen in other Gilliam productions), ordinary objects to become special effects, and unusual camera shots produce a grotesque deformation of point of view. Akin to Time Bandits, the main characters represent a social group rarely depicted as rabble-rousers, while the film’s ironic wit targets a bureaucratic system and white-collar hegemony (as in Brazil).

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