LOST IN LA MANCHA Add To My Top 10

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Release Date: January 31, 2003

Starring: Johnny Depp, Jean Rochefort and Vanessa Paradis NARRATED BY: Jeff Bridges

Genre: Documentary

Audience: Older teenagers and
adults REVIEWER: Dr. Tom
Snyder Attempts to make a
theatrical version of DON
QUIXOTE, the beloved literary
masterpiece by Miguel de
Cervantes, have nearly always
met with disaster in one way
or another. The only
successful version was a
recent television version
starring John Lithgow as the
addled Don. A five-hour
Spanish television version of
the first half of the novel
was completed and broadcast in
1991, but the second half was
not made due to the death of
the star. The most famous
failed attempt, however, was
by the late great Orson
Welles, who left different
parts of what he shot to three
different bickering factions,
which means that, for all
practical purposes, there is
no final edited movie. MONTY
PYTHON alumnus Terry Gilliam
(TIME BANDITS, BRAZIL and
TWELVE MONKEYS), a first-rate
fantasy director with a
magnificently weird
imagination, has been trying
to make a new version of DON
QUIXOTE for more than 10
years. In 2000, he finally got
enough funding to begin
shooting in Europe, using
European money. LOST IN LA
MANCHA is a documentary
describing how an escalating
series of disasters prevents
Gilliam from realizing his
dream, after only a few days
of shooting. First, the lead
actress has problems with her
schedule, and the filmmakers
find out that her contract has
not really been finalized.
Then, the actor playing
Quixote, an aging French actor
who has taken a quick course
in English, has a prostrate
problem which clearly proves
painful when he tries to ride
his horse. Then, a large
Spanish soundstage needed for
several sets turns out to have
terrible sound because Spanish
filmmakers record their
dialogue after they film their
scenes, instead of during the
filming. Finally, after
suffering through hours of
noise from jets located at a
nearby airbase, a terrible
rainstorm hits the dry river
bed that Gilliam has chosen to
shoot the first important
scenes without regard to the
location. This delays the
production, so the French
actor returns to Paris, where
his doctor nixes any further
involvement until he is
completely healed. Despite
Gilliam's heroic efforts to
keep it going, the production
is shut down. LOST IN LA
MANCHA is an enjoyable comedy
of errors that reveals many
details about the filmmaking
process, including the
financial end. Like Don
Quixote, Terry Gilliam fights
obstinate, impersonal
windmills. He is depicted as
the consummate Romantic artist
battling social forces, nature
and even God Himself. Although
Gilliam obviously has a
terrific imagination, the
actor he has chosen to play
Don Quixote doesn't seem to
have the best vocal and acting
talent for the role during the
shooting, though he does
indeed look the part. In fact,
one silent screen test showing
the actor in full Quixote
regalia comes agonizingly
close to what one expects a
movie Quixote to look
like. Also, when things go
wrong with the production,
some "f" words understandably
flow from people's lips, but
the documentary also shows
scenes from the script where
one character only seems to
know the "f" word. To besmirch
the story of a beloved
masterpiece with such
vulgarity seems totally out of
place. It doesn't encourage
MOVIEGUIDE® about the
ultimate worth of Gilliam's
pet project, even if he gets
all the money in the world to
make his heart's desire come
true. Please address your
comments to: Joshua Sapan,
President/CEO IFC Films/IFC
Entertainment Rainbow Media
Holdings, Inc. (Independent
Movie Channel/IFC Films/Bravo
Networks) 200 Jericho
Quadrangle Jericho, NY
11753 Phone: (516)
803-3000 Fax: (516)
803-4616 Website:
www.ifctv.com

Rating: R

Runtime: 89 minutes

Distributor: IFC Films

Director: Keith Fulton and Louis Pepe

Executive Producer:

Producer: Lucy Darwin

Writer: Keith Fulton and Louis Pepe

Address Comments To:

Content:

(RoRo, LL, V, D, M) Romantic worldview of the idealistic artist who battles social forces, nature and God; 18 mostly strong obscenities and one strong profanity; light violence such as brief fighting and pretend swordplay; smoking; and, brief discussion about there being a curse associated with a famous literary work.

GENRE: Documentary

RoRo

LL

V

D

M

Summary:

LOST IN LA MANCHA is a documentary about filmmaker Terry Gilliam's failed attempt to make a new version of DON QUIXOTE, the literary masterpiece by Miguel de Cervantes. LOST IN LA MANCHA is an enjoyable comedy of errors that reveals many details about the filmmaking process, but contains some very strong foul language.

Review:

Attempts to make a theatrical version of DON QUIXOTE, the beloved literary masterpiece by Miguel de Cervantes, have nearly always met with disaster in one way or another. The only successful version was a recent television version starring John Lithgow as the addled Don. A five-hour Spanish television version of the first half of the novel was completed and broadcast in 1991, but the second half was not made due to the death of the star. The most famous failed attempt, however, was by the late great Orson Welles, who left different parts of what he shot to three different bickering factions, which means that, for all practical purposes, there is no final edited movie.

MONTY PYTHON alumnus Terry Gilliam (TIME BANDITS, BRAZIL and TWELVE MONKEYS), a first-rate fantasy director with a magnificently weird imagination, has been trying to make a new version of DON QUIXOTE for more than 10 years. In 2000, he finally got enough funding to begin shooting in Europe, using European money. LOST IN LA MANCHA is a documentary describing how an escalating series of disasters prevents Gilliam from realizing his dream, after only a few days of shooting.

First, the lead actress has problems with her schedule, and the filmmakers find out that her contract has not really been finalized. Then, the actor playing Quixote, an aging French actor who has taken a quick course in English, has a prostrate problem which clearly proves painful when he tries to ride his horse. Then, a large Spanish soundstage needed for several sets turns out to have terrible sound because Spanish filmmakers record their dialogue after they film their scenes, instead of during the filming. Finally, after suffering through hours of noise from jets located at a nearby airbase, a terrible rainstorm hits the dry river bed that Gilliam has chosen to shoot the first important scenes without regard to the location. This delays the production, so the French actor returns to Paris, where his doctor nixes any further involvement until he is completely healed. Despite Gilliam's heroic efforts to keep it going, the production is shut down.

LOST IN LA MANCHA is an enjoyable comedy of errors that reveals many details about the filmmaking process, including the financial end. Like Don Quixote, Terry Gilliam fights obstinate, impersonal windmills. He is depicted as the consummate Romantic artist battling social forces, nature and even God Himself.

Although Gilliam obviously has a terrific imagination, the actor he has chosen to play Don Quixote doesn't seem to have the best vocal and acting talent for the role during the shooting, though he does indeed look the part. In fact, one silent screen test showing the actor in full Quixote regalia comes agonizingly close to what one expects a movie Quixote to look like.

Also, when things go wrong with the production, some "f" words understandably flow from people's lips, but the documentary also shows scenes from the script where one character only seems to know the "f" word. To besmirch the story of a beloved masterpiece with such vulgarity seems totally out of place. It doesn't encourage MOVIEGUIDE® about the ultimate worth of Gilliam's pet project, even if he gets all the money in the world to make his heart's desire come true.

Please address your comments to:

Joshua Sapan, President/CEO

IFC Films/IFC Entertainment

Rainbow Media Holdings, Inc.

(Independent Movie Channel/IFC Films/Bravo Networks)

200 Jericho Quadrangle

Jericho, NY 11753

Phone: (516) 803-3000

Fax: (516) 803-4616

Website: www.ifctv.com

In Brief: