Juan (mcclintock) wrote,
Juan
mcclintock

Lost in La Mancha

Anybody want to see this with me sometime? I have the urge, and small films rarely stay on screen very long.

Also the problem tonight is TV. Three shows one hour and I can only watch and record one.
1. Angel
2. Junkyard Wars Mega Show - 1900 Planes
3. TV Land awards on Nick - Old geezers from classic shows get showered with love.


The impossible dream

The collapse of filmmaker Terry Gilliam's The Man Who Killed Quixote, a typically quirky spin on Miguel de Cervantes's classic fable about the power of dreams, as chronicled by longtime admirers Keith Fulton and Louis Pepe. Gilliam began his career creating memorably bizarre animated sketches for the Monty Python troupe and graduated to such live-action features as BRAZIL (1985) and TWELVE MONKEYS (1995); Quixote was a natural subject and by 1999 he had a script and the beginnings of financing. Labeled an unruly genius in the wake of the legendary disaster that was 1989's THE ADVENTURES OF BARON MUNCHAUSEN (a textbook example of a film spiraling wildly out of control), Gilliam — notorious for butting heads with studio executives and financiers — couldn't get Quixote made in America. But it came together as an independent project, budgeted at £32 million (approximately $52 million) and financed entirely in Europe, a slap in Hollywood's smug, shallow face. With a September 2000 start date locked in, Gilliam assembles his collaborators in Spain. He casts American maverick Johnny Depp as a 21st-Century adman transported to Quixote's 17th-century Spain; Depp's wife, pop star Vanessa Paradis, as the female lead; and French legend Jean Rochefort, 70, as the deluded don. Gilliam is shadowed throughout by Keith and Pepe; having made a documentary about the director, they welcomed the opportunity to chronicle the making of one of his eccentric films. Instead, they document Quixote's unmaking. The schedules of Gilliam's international cast don't coordinate. U.S. military jets spoil sound takes. A freak storm destroys sets and equipment and, more important, so alters the desert landscape that everything shot to date must be scrapped. Then Rochefort, the film's lynchpin, becomes ill and returns to France for medical advice; another actor of his age, reputation and equestrian skills will be hard to find. Gilliam clings to the hope that the insurance company holding the film's completion bond will pay out enough money to keep the project afloat, but they renege. After six days of filming, The Man Who Killed Quixote is abandoned. Fulton and Pepe's film is both heartbreaking and profoundly sobering: It's hard to believe a film of this scale, with such tried-and-true talent attached, could simply dissolve like sugar in the rain. And yet it did, undermined by a combination of avoidable mistakes and unforeseeable calamities. The film should be required viewing for all aspiring filmmakers, but the story's road-accident appeal is universal. — Maitland McDonagh
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