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Lost in La Mancha (2002)

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Terry Gilliam's doomed attempt to get his film, The Man Who Killed Don Quixote (2018), off the ground.

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2 wins & 11 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Tony Grisoni ... Himself - Co-Writer
... Himself - First Assistant Director (as Phil Patterson)
René Cleitman ... Himself - Producer
... Himself - Writer & Director
Nicola Pecorini ... Himself - Director of Photography
... Himself - Line Producer
Bárbara Pérez-Solero ... Herself - Ass't. Set Decorator
Benjamín Fernández ... Himself - Production Designer (as Benjamin Fernandez)
Andrea Calderwood ... Herself - Former Head of Production, Pathé
Ray Cooper ... Himself - Longtime Gilliam Colleague
... Herself - Costume Designer
... Himself - Co-Costume Designer
Bernard Bouix ... Himself - Executive Producer
Fred Millstein ... Himself - Completion Guarantor
... Narrator (voice)
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Storyline

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 Huggo

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Taglines:

They've got a story...but have lost the plot.

Genres:

Documentary

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language | See all certifications »

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Details

Official Sites:

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Release Date:

2 August 2002 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Don Kihotis horis telos...  »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend:

£42,824 (United Kingdom), 4 August 2002, Limited Release

Opening Weekend USA:

$63,303, 2 February 2003, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$734,514, 22 June 2003
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Technical Specs

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Fulton and Pepe intended to make a television documentary about the development and pre-production of Terry Gilliam's long-awaited passion project. They had no idea that the story would develop into its own quixotic tragedy. After the project failed, Fulton and Pepe were wary of finishing their film until Gilliam said "someone has to get a film out of this. I guess it's going to be you." See more »

Quotes

Investor: For the record, where is the Director of this Movie?
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Crazy Credits

There are no opening cast or end credits except for the narrator. Cast members are credited by subtitles during the film or orally by the narrator. See more »

Connections

References The Wizard of Oz (1939) See more »

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User Reviews

The Impossible Dream
19 July 2003 | by See all my reviews

Thanks to DVD, we've all become accustomed to seeing `inside' documentaries about the making of some of our favorite films. But what of those films that – for whatever reason – never end up seeing the light of day? Are there any lessons to be learned from examining the making (or near making) of those works? This is the questioned posed by `Lost in La Mancha,' a behind-the-scenes chronicle of director Terry Gilliam's attempt to fulfill his decade-long dream of bringing Cervantes' `Don Quixote' to the big screen, a project that ended up in heartbreaking, catastrophic failure for both the filmmaker and the gifted crew with which he was working.

Directors Keith Fulton and Louis Pepe did not, of course, set out to record such a debacle. Like all the people involved in the making of `The Man Who Killed Don Quixote' – a film intended to star Jean Rochefort and Johnny Depp - the documentary filmmakers assumed that Gilliam and his crew would end up with an impressive finished product and that their own work would serve as little more than supplemental material on a future DVD release of the film, certainly not a theatrical release in its own right. What none of them foresaw was the series of almost Biblical disasters that would ultimately doom the film to a state of perpetual nonexistence. Flash floods, health problems, nervous investors and bottom line insurance agents all eventually conspired to prevent Gilliam's dream from becoming a reality. Thus, what became a bust for Terry Gilliam turned into a boon for Fulton and Pepe.

With the benefit of hindsight, the filmmakers ensure that the parallels between Don Quixote and Gilliam himself are never far from the viewer's mind. Gilliam, a maverick director whose movies have always tested the boundaries of the film medium, is clearly an artist and a visionary obsessed with impossible dreams of his own, but dreams that inspire those around him to strive for a greatness not always nurtured by the mundane realities of the everyday world. The fact that, in this particular case, those realities intervened to bring his vision crashing back to earth only completes the connection to the Quixote figure. Gilliam spends most of his time in this film tilting at his own windmills, only to find that the vagaries of fate are more terrifying than any giants Quixote might have imagined. The documentary also notes that Gilliam is not the only major director to have been stymied in his attempt to adapt this material; the great Orson Welles failed to complete his version of `Don Quixote' as well. The irony of these two innovative cinema giants both failing with THIS particular material pervades the film with an eerie sense of doom and foreboding.

`Lost in La Mancha' is an instructive film on a technical level, but also immensely sad on an emotional one. Because we know from the beginning that this venture is doomed to failure, even the moments of hope and optimism early on in the film carry with them an air of fatalistic melancholy. This pre-knowledge also turns the many admittedly humorous moments into genuine black comedy.

It is always painful to see genius and creativity choked off at the root, especially since the few glimpses we get of actual completed footage hint at what a fine production this `Don Quixote' might have been. As to Gilliam, one can only hope that he will continue to pursue his impossible dream despite all the roadblocks reality has set in his way. Don Quixote would have wanted it that way.


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