Documentary that chronicles how Francis Ford Coppola's Apocalypse Now (1979) was plagued by extraordinary script, shooting, budget, and casting problems--nearly destroying the life and career of the celebrated director.
Director Terry Gilliam is the latest filmmaker to try and bring Miguel de Cervantes y Saavedra's "Don Quixote de la Mancha" to the big screen, the movie to be called The Man Who Killed Don Quixote. Before filming even begins, Gilliam, who has moved from Hollywood studio to European financing, will have to scale back his vision as his budget has been slashed from $40 million to $32 million, still astronomical by European standards. But Gilliam is a dreamer, much like his title character, and his vision for the movie is uncompromising, meaning with the reduced budget that there is no margin for error and that some of his department heads may have to achieve miracles with their allotted moneys. During pre-production and actual filming, what Gilliam does not foresee is contractual and health issues with his actors, and the effects of Mother Nature. The question is does Gilliam have a Plan B if/when things go wrong. Written by
Fulton and Pepe embarked on their second feature about director Terry Gilliam intending to make a television documentary about the development and pre-production of Gilliam's long-awaited passion project. Having intimate knowledge of Gilliam's chaotic working methods, they knew they were in for something dramatic. But they had no idea that the story would develop into its own quixotic tragedy. After the failure of Gilliam's production, Fulton and Pepe were wary of finishing their film. Gilliam assured them that "someone has to get a film out of this. I guess it's going to be you." See more »
At the end of the credits we see the footage of the giants running menacingly towards the screen (which Gilliam admitted would make a great trailer). Just before it fades to black, the words "COMING SOON" are emblazoned across the screen. At the fadeout, we hear Gilliam's distinctive laugh. See more »
"Lost in LaMancha" is a fascinatingly brilliant documentary about the aborted film project "The Man Who Killed Don Quixote" and the problems faced by its writer/director Terry Gilliam. The two documentarians who followed Gilliam's "Twelve Monkeys" to produce "The Hamster Factor And Other Tales Of Twelve Monkeys" have done the same again here only this time there is no film to complement the documentary.
Gilliam is no stranger to controversy. Books, made for dvd documentaries and now this feature have been produced about his troubles in the tv and film industry. He has been labeled as a director who goes over budget though in this case the weather, the noise of overhead fighter planes and an ailing lead actor all come together to halt filming.
Gilliam's "The Fisher King" co-star Jeff Bridges narrates the doco which details pre-production through to its troubled shoot. "The Man Who Killed Don Quixote" was to be the most expensive independently produced film in Europe with an international cast including Johnny Depp. Filming only lasted about a week before the insurance company closed down production. The insurance company now own Gilliam and Tony Grisoni's screenplay plus the surviving footage from the shoot.
People believe that the story of "The Man Of LaMancha" is cursed and the documentary mentions in minor detail another troubled genius, Orson Welles, and his unfinished Don Quixote project.
There has been other documentaries of this type such as "Hearts Of Darkness: A Filmmaker's Apocalypse" about the lengthy production of Francis Ford Coppola's "Apocalypse Now" but in the case of this film there is no happy ending. No cultural masterpiece that rises from a problematic shoot. This film is the cinematic equivalent of a train wreak. You know things are going to get ugly but you can't take your eyes off it. You have to admire Gilliam for signing off on this doco. It's a constant reminder of a time in his life wasted with nothing to show for it. It's terribly depressing but the crew's sense of humor and commitment to the project shine through.
If you're a fan of Gilliam's or interested in film production then this entertaining documentary is for you.
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