Jonesing for a Savior

Although Terry Gilliam is the best-known director to spring from the coils of Monty Python owing to productions such as 1985's Brazil, Terry Jones may be the man most responsible for preserving the comedy troupe's maddest celluloid moments. He co-directed 1975's riotous Monty Python and the Holy Grail with Gilliam; he helmed most of 1983's The Meaning of Life; and he was wholly in charge of the collective's best-made, and arguably best, flick, 1979's Life of Brian, which he'll introduce and discuss tonight.

This tale of a reluctant messiah during the time of Christ stirred no shortage of controversy: Brian wasn't released in Italy until 1990. Yet Jesus, who makes a cameo in the film, comes off quite well — unlike those characters who are willing to believe just about anything or are eager to exploit those who do. Jones gives the assorted sequences shape without lessening their hilarity or bite, and caps off the proceedings with one of the great musical sequences in movie history: "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life" as warbled by a field full of crucified crooners. Python Eric Idle and his collaborators subsequently swiped the song for use in Spamalot, the Broadway musical cobbled together from bits of Grail. That was a bigger sin than anything in Life of Brian.

Jones does the full Monty at 7 p.m. at Muenzinger Auditorium, on the University of Colorado at Boulder campus. Admission is $4 for CU-Boulder students with an ID, $5 for the rest of us. Get directions and details at 303-492-1531 or www.internationalfilmseries.com.
Sun., Sept. 30, 7 p.m., 2007

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts