Terry Gilliam has a long career spanning over 40 years which sky rocketed after his involvement with Monty Python’s Flying Circus made him a household name. His feature directorial debut was Monty Python and The Holy Grail which soon caught Hollywood’s attention and before they knew it, Gilliam was unleashing his unique brand of cinema onto the silver screen.
However, as unique an eye that Gilliam has as a director, his films weren’t really making the kind of box office bucks that film studios like. So, after a time Gilliam was starting to find his films were getting harder to make.
Lost in La Mancha documented his attempts at trying to get a film made of Don Quixote, with stars lined up such as Johnny Depp, Miranda Richardson and Christopher Eccleston among the cast, it seemed that it was going to be a sure-fire hit. The problem was that despite the passion that Gilliam had for the project, passion wasn’t going to get him the financial backing he needed to create his dream project.
Although by that point Gilliam had a dogged determination to get it done and he was going to get it done his way, even if it took nearly 20 years more to make it. He Dreams of Giants is the documentary about the making of The Man Who Killed Don Quixote and how Terry Gilliam finally made it happen.
Starting out as a semi behind the scenes documentary of the making of the film, the documentary does start to talk more about its subject. Gilliam was on top of his game 30 years ago, but now it seems that he’s all too aware of his life, his career and still wonders whether it was all meant to be.
What could have been a rousing tribute to the Minnesotan born director who captured the hearts of the British public turns into a rather realistic and non-self-aggrandising depiction of a man who fears his time may be up.
Gilliam’s obsession, much like Don Quixote’s could have been the death of him, but thankfully this noble knight of cinema may still ride once again.
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