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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 »
Brilliant Documentary Of A Director's Worst Nightmare
Filmmaker & Monty Python alumni Terry Gilliam has dreamed for years of making a movie about Don Quixote. He finally got the chance to make his dream movie, "The Man Who Killed Don Quixote," in 2000, starring Johnny Depp and, in the title role of Don Quixote, French actor Jean Rochefort. But due to budget problems, shooting schedule problems, horrible weather problems, and the unfortunate ill health of actor Rochefort, the production was a disaster from the word go. After only 6 days of troubled shooting, "The Man Who Killed Don Quixote" was completely abandoned.
Fortunately, out of the wreckage of Terry Gilliam's never-finished film comes "Lost In La Mancha," a brilliant documentary that captures everything that went wrong with the movie, from the first eight weeks of pre-production (which wasn't smooth sailing either) to the disastrous six-day shoot that followed. We see both sides to Gilliam throughout the movie---one minute he's giddy with delight at making his dream movie, the next minute he's blowing his obscenity-laden top over his project collapsing all around him. And it's not just Gilliam who suffers, as *everyone* involved with the movie, both in front of & behind the camera, gets dragged down right along with him as all hell breaks loose on the doomed production.
Watching "Lost In La Mancha" is not only fascinating, but it's also very educational, giving the viewer a first-hand look at what goes on behind the scenes of mounting a movie, including all of the business aspects involved such as financing & other professional agreements that have to be made before a single frame is shot. It's also a sad documentary to watch, too. Looking at all the terrific hardware, costumes and set pieces that were created for the movie (including marvelous life-size marionette puppets that can march in perfect synchronicity), plus the widescreen footage of the scant few scenes Gilliam shot before the production was shut down, the viewer is given a genuine glimpse of the movie that *might* have been, and is all the more saddened---and sympathetic with Gilliam & his team---because of it.
Happily, though, all is not lost for "The Man Who Killed Don Quixote" just yet. Terry Gilliam is reportedly preparing for a second attempt at shooting the movie, and, having seen the movie's potential in this excellent documentary, I wish Gilliam all the best in the world in finally bringing his Don Quixote movie to the big screen. Judging by the glimpses of it in "Lost In La Mancha," I definitely believe it will be a truly great movie. :-)
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