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Getting Gilliam (2005)

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Follows director Terry Gilliam through the process of making his film Tideland (2005).

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Title: Getting Gilliam (2005)

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Follows director Terry Gilliam through the process of making his film Tideland (2005).

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safer than Lost in La Mancha, though only because Tideland was finished
17 March 2007 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Getting Gilliam is a fascinating, if brief, film-student examination of what is the directing mind of Terry Gilliam, who works here on Tideland, his crazy movie- and much crazier than one might even typically expect from him. Vincenzo Natali follows along on the slightly bumpy ride of the production of the film, wedged between a production stalling on Brothers Grimm, and little by little we get pieces of what Gilliam is about as a filmmaker and just as a very humorous but focused maverick. He allows for inspiration to hit at any moment on the set, he sets the mood, good or bad (bad only comes, not too oddly enough, the day Bush is re-elected, as he makes Brazil comparisons to present-day), and he's one who can sway between moods of total delight, inner peace (laying on the ground in the dark), and controlled frustration at the little quirks of film-making.

It's not Don Quixote, of course, so things of tragic and Biblical scale don't happen, but the little problems and little sudden peculiarities of film-making get some fine spots put on, like when Ferland gets bit on the lip by a bug or Gilliam admits what he can do when a light and a prop doll-house get in the right positions, or in the simple change in weather and its consequences. So as a countering to the very easy productions- in comparison to past Gilliam films- Natali also tries his best to probe into one of his film-making Gods; he straps a little camera to Gilliam's head to see what it will be like to see the world through Gilliam, as he describes his style as impossible to see, "like looking at a writer contemplating before a typewriter." It doesn't last long though, and Natali is only a little good at mimicking Gilliam's animations to tell of his troubles in creating his films, which was done better and quicker in La Mancha. But if you're a fan of Gilliam, as I am, it's a very worthwhile side-trip on the DVD for Tideland, especially to see a little moment when he trails off talking to Ferland about a book report into bashing Roland Emmerich, and even Gilliam's mother.


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