Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Documentary: Lost In La Mancha, 2002, Louis Pepe & Keith Fulton

As part of our narrative project, we were shown this documentary, an eye opener, which shows what happens when the administration of certain projects go all over the place.
This documentary focus on Terry Gilliam, and his project to make an adaptation of Cervantes' Don Quixote, into film. However, Don Quixote is considered the cursed project in Hollywood, first approached by the famous actor/ director Orson Welles.

Gilliam follows the same doomed trip that stopped Welles from making the film.
As the documentary starts, we are presented most of the jobs inside a film project, from administration, to design, acting, financing, producing, etc. But... and here is a big BUT... this whole project was undergoing one of the biggest problems when creating a film, the lack of funds. Thus, all the Production was running with less money than they actually should. On the top of that, the whole production was a disaster, no communication, no schedules, not even places to record.

On the top of that, the actors were missing to practice the script, the places found to record were outrageous, I suppose the only good thing was... the acting from the Giants.
When finally things were going less bad, and the pre-production was ready to get into recording with the actual actors, things go mad.

Firstly, the site for the first recording is a NATO air force base, so the place is often visited by unwelcome jets, to make matters worse, the main Actor Jean Rochefort, suffers an illness, and to add more insult to injury, most of the recording material is destroyed in a storm with floods.
After long time stopped and pondering if continue or not, Terry Gilliam receives the bad news that the investors for his project, are not investing anymore and no funds will be received, which leads to postpone the project.
In my opinion , Terry Gilliam may look the unluckiest man on the planet for having all those things happening to him, but I do believe that in the documentary is almost a cover-up to hide is shameful management.

A pre-production so badly ran by a poor management team and a stubborn Director is just asking for trouble. Gilliam knowing he was running on lower funds that expected should have found a Plan B for his project. i know this is not just a film for him is a passion, to be fighting over 10 years to create this film, but one should understand when things are not going the way as planned, when the budget is lower than expected, one should understand and cut on costs.
Finally, i have to say I was feeling sorry for Terry Gilliam, because is sad to see a man with a so concrete vision and passion is not able to succeed. I do think that Gilliam is becoming a Don Quixote himself.
The good/bad news is that Gilliam attempted to make this film happen again, and once again he was not successful.
The superstitious may say 3 is the right number, so maybe for Gilliam it will be.

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