Friday, 30 September 2011

Movie review - Lost in Mancha

Lost in La Mancha documents Terry Gilliam's attempt to produce a finished verison of 'The Man Who killed Don Quixote'. It captures Gilliam's ambition to see the project through and how it spirals out of control as more and more obstacles block Gilliam from achieving this. "Lost in La Mancha gives the viewer a unique insight into the way in which films are made and unmade, a glimpse at the peculiar fragility of filmmaking as an art form, and a potrait of the insainty and nobility of creative spirit." (Smart, 2002) This evidence outlines the experience Gilliam had with this project and how his passion pushed him forward even though the production was riddled with problems such as a severe storm the destroys and washes away some of the equipment. Through the documeted journey, the viewer sees Gilliam overcome most of the problems as he tries to ignite the filming process after each failure but eventually Gilliam becomes defeated due to one of the bankers not having all the money promised.

Figure 1, (2009), Jean Rochefort (Quixode) riding a horse Scene

Gilliam was not the only director to the fail the 'Quixote project' as several more failed attempts have been made previously. "...the history of cinema is marked by the bleached bones of unmade or unfinished versions of Don Quixote, stretching from Sergi Eisenstein's in the 1920's to Orson Welle's in the 1950's. It's as if some curse were transfered from it's mad, idealsitic hero to those attracted to bringing him to the screen." (French, 2002) The viewer can experience this 'Quixote Curse' as Gilliam was continuously pushed back from storms and sounds of an aeroplane overhead as if a mystic force was telling the director that this film was never meant to be made. There is also a connection with Gilliam and the previous directors on this project such as Orson welles who struggled on the project for two decades before his star of the film died before the project was finished.

 Figure 2, (2003), Still of the actors walking through the desert scene

The documentary also links Gilliam to his star in the film, when the project seems hopeless. "Fulton and Pepe are brilliant filmakers in their own right, framing Gilliam trudging lost across a mud flat like the manifestation of his demented hero..." (Chaw, 2002) In the evidence 'the manifestation of his demented hero' the quote identifies how Gilliam had to cover strenches of vast open desert to work on a new shot but also his a link to his main star Quixode, both setting out on an endless journey that seems unlikely to ever finish. Gilliam changes emotionally, shown in the documentary as promises of excitment to the final scenes depicting his disappointment and self failure.

 Figure 3, (2009), Terry Gilliam expressing how his ambition has failed

Illustration List

Figure 1, (2009), Jean Rochefort (Quixode) riding a horse Scene, @, Accessed on: 15th May 2009

Figure 2, (2003), Still of the actors walking through the desert scene, @, Accessed on: 3rd July 2003

Figure 3, (2009), Terry Gilliam expressing how his ambition has failed, @, Accessed on: 28th June 2009


Chaw Walter, (2002), Lost in Mancha, ½ out of 4, @, Accessed on: 14th October 2002

French Phillip, (2002), Down the Shoot - Lost in La Mancha, @, Accessed on: 4th August 2002

Smart, (2002), Smart - Lost in La Mancha,@, Accessed on: 2002

1 ½ /5

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