Steampunk Intranet of Brazil

Over lunch I started to mull over movie depictions of the intranet. I like the idea of film as a sort collective unconsciousness.  There’s quite a few films where some sort of computer network and database is central to the narrative, but I can only think of one where an intranet is central to the narrative and that film is Terry Gilliam’s 1985 masterpiece Brazil.

Here we are presented with a wonderfully retro steampunk intranet where the central contrivance of the film – mistaking Buttle for Tuttle is caused by a misprint of the machine. Data is transferred as paper in pipes, all connecting together to create a 1940s retro sci fi dystopia. It’s a wonderful vision of where we might be without personal computers, the electronic network and SharePoint.

The downfall of the film’s hero Sam Lowry (Jonathan Pryce) is also due to the intranet, or rather to his blatant sabotaging of the system by forcing two intranet data tubes together. It’s not quite the employee feedback system most would recommend…

After a bit of Googling I’ve managed to find the very scene where this happens. Don’t try this at work kids with your intranet….;-)

nb. I wonder what the earliest film intranet is.  The best I can think of is Fritz Lang’s 1927 Metropolis where the ruling eleite only learn of the troubles at the mill and the workers’ revolt through an internal data ticker. Anyone think of an earlier one or better examples of the  intranet on film? Or other Steampunk Intranets?

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