"The first movie that really got me was Paths of Glory, which I saw when I was sixteen at a Saturday matinee in Panorama City, with kids running up and down the aisle. Suddenly, with Paths of Glory, there was a movie that was about something--about injustice--with themes and ideas, and the good guys didn't win in the end. That film completely changed me and I went around trying to get everybody I knew to see it." -Terry Gilliam (director of Brazil, 12 Monkeys, Fear & Loathing In Las Vegas, and The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus) in Gilliam on Gilliam, edited by Ian Christie
I just recently saw Paths of Glory, and still, there are scenes I can't shake away. Like most of Stanely Kubrick's films, the last act just blows you away. Everything comes together. Everything starts to set in, sink in, and simmer from within. From the story's inside-out perspective, Kubrick's direction allows the words (from soldiers who are sentenced to be killed for not following orders, for not respecting authority, by their own generals) and the actions of his characters to bleed a kind of naked vulnerability. I think this may be what Gilliam is talking about. And I think, this is partly why, I enjoy his films (and Kubrick's films) so much. There's an electricity to the dialogue. It feels real, yet it doesn't, all at once. Like a Wong Kar-Wai film, it transcends the space inside the cinematic frame and moves beyond it. Into the audience. Into the living room. Wherever you may be viewing it. And then, out of nowhere, it hits you. And you know you're watching something important and not just another Saturday matinee special.