Lost In La Mancha
2002
Dir: Keith Fulton, Louis Pepe
Terry Gilliam has never found film-making easy.
When he shot 'Brazil', he suffered from extreme stress that caused him to lose movement in his legs.

'The Adventures of Baron Munchausen' was $2m over-budget before the cameras had even started rolling.

While making 'Twelve Monkeys', Gilliam almost died in a horse riding accident.

So, when he announced that he would shoot 'The Man Who Killed Don Quixote' and that it would cost $40m,
few thought it would be an easy ride.

Others had tried to tell the story and failed. Orson Welles spent twenty years trying to raise funding for his version of the Don Quixote story.

Directors Keith Fulton and Louis Pepe had produced a number of other 'making of' documentaries, which usually ended up on the DVD as an 'extra'.
Normally, these 'making of' films are extremely bland, puff pieces, full of interviews in which the cast and crew say how wonderful the experience was, and how the director is a true visionary.
However, when they made 'The Hamster Factor and Other Tales of Twelve Monkeys', about the making of 'Twelve Monkeys', it was clear that Gilliam had given them more freedom and access than customary, and they caught him in some dark, doubting moments.

What they could never have realized, when they started to document Gilliam's grandest vision, was that their film, rather than being a piece of supporting material for Gilliam's film, would turn out to be the only releasable film.

Gilliam encountered disaster from the very start, and his film was doomed.

It is a little like watching the story of the Titanic, because we know before we start watching how it is all going to end, but that makes it none the less fascinating.

I am left with one question: Would Gilliam's film have been any good?
My opinion is that it would have followed the path of Munchausen, and that Gilliam's unrestrained enthusiasm can lead to sprawling, undisciplined film-making that is self-indulgent, like an over-rich pudding.
But of course, we will never know.

Paul Spurrier