our film reviews: from armchair viewing to the festival front row

15 October 2006

[Reel-Reviews] lost in la mancha (4 stars)

Fulton and Pepe’s documentary of Terry Gilliam’s doooomed and never-completed feature film, The Man Who Killed Don Quixote, is a brilliantly revealing insight into the paranoid, fragile and tempestuous process of film-making. A decade after he first had the idea, and on a budget of only $34m (ie tiny! but still the biggest budgeted feature film using only European financing), Gilliam and his crew are beset by problem after problem after problem – overhead noise from the nearby NATO airbase, the mother of all hail storms and subsequent flash flood, the illness, absence and conflicting schedules of the cast, many pan-European linguistic and geographic co-ordination problems, and an eventual insurance claim for a cool $15m. Frankly, it makes even my hard weeks at work look like making daisy chains in the sunshine…

A film about a fantastical dreamer of a director, a bunch of filmic outsiders, maybe even victorious losers in a way.

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