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I recently watched the beginning of Monty Python's The Meaning of Life, featuring a short called "The Crimson Permanent Assurance". This film short instantly reminded me of a clip from a movie I saw a very long time ago but can't remember the name of.

The scene I remember most about this unidentified movie was a similar kind of "surrealistic" takedown of a big business corporation by (what I think was) its workers. I think this scene was towards the end of the movie, and it took place in a more modern looking building and everyone seemed to be wearing business suits. I think lots of papers flew around too. I saw the move clip sometime in the late 1990's, and the movie had the "feel" of something from the 1980's or so. I remember the surrealism of the scene made the film appear to be comedy, but I'm not entirely sure this is the case.

Unfortunately, this is all I can remember about this movie... I know it's a bit sketchy, but if anyone has any ideas as to what this movie was, I'd really appreciate it.

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Sounds a little bit like Brazil. –  his Jan 19 at 0:01
    
Brazil doesn't have a 'corporate take-down' plot, but it does have a famous paper attack sequence, so could be. –  John Smith Optional Jan 19 at 9:43
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@JohnSmithOptional - well Sam Lowry does certainly end up on the wrong side of "The Ministry" and "Central Services" - and accused of undermining them, even though primarily he just wants to be with Jill. –  iandotkelly May 20 at 1:09

2 Answers 2

Its not a lot to go on but it does sound like Terry Gilliam's Brazil, (a personal favorite).

Clues:

  • The Crimson Permanent Assurance, was also directed by Gilliam, and has a similar corporate feel to the strange world in Brazil. The Meaning of Life was directed by Terry Jones, but Gilliam directed this supporting feature which is shown before the rest of the movie.

  • Brazil is a satire of bureaucracy, of corporations and states. It is a world where even the plumbers have to file paperwork (a 27b/6 form).

  • The rather run-down world that Sam Lowry lives is rather strewn with trash, has bins burning, and as @JohnSmithOptional states, does have the famous 'consumed by paperwork' scene.

  • It is certainly surreal - from Sam Lowry dreaming of flying in a winged suit, to Robert De Niro playing a freelance plumber who acts like he's in special-forces on a mission.

  • Also your uncertainty about whether its a comedy is entirely spot on. Its a very very dark comedy - with hugely funny scenes, but it is very dark at times and in Terry Gilliam's cut of the movie has a pretty bleak ending.

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Its also highly recommended to anyone that hasn't seen it - I'm not Gilliam's biggest fan, though 12-Monkeys is pretty good - but Brazil is just staggeringly good - for a retro-futuristic, dystopian, surreal, black comedy. Great cast too - Jonathan Pryce, Robert De Niro, Bob Hoskins, Ian Holm, Jim Broadbent, Michael Palin ..... –  iandotkelly May 20 at 1:20

I think this might be the Michael J. Fox movie, "Secret of My Success".

Michael J. Fox gets a job from a distant relative in the mail room of a corporation, and through key friendships with other financial people, impersonates an executive in the corporation and orchestrates a takeover of both his corporation and another corporation that was going to buy them out, assisted by the daughter of the founder and other co-workers (Secretary and friends from mail room).

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was there any surrealistic element to that movie? –  Michael Stern Apr 21 at 13:19

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