Tuesday, June 9, 2009

"That's our trailer, right there! " LOST IN LA MANCHA DOCUMENTARY MARATHON

Lost In La Mancha-2002- Keith Fulton and Louis Pepe


Lost in La Mancha
follows Terry Gilliam during the trials of attaining his dream of adapting Don Quixote for the screen. The entire production seems failed from the start, but they forge ahead and find themselves at their wits end after all that could go wrong does.

After watching Hearts of Darkness, Lost in La Mancha seems so incredibly tame. It's interesting to me as a fan of Gilliam and as a fan of the filmmaking process, but should that be enough to make it a compelling film? Must you have these preconceived feelings towards Gilliam to be able to enjoy the film? I don't think that you should. Anyone could watch Hearts of Darkness and get something out of it, but the film's directors, Keith Fulton and Louis Pepe, seem to want to replicate that type of success without adding any passion of their own.

Gilliam is an interesting character. He IS Don Quixote. This makes Lost in La Mancha a reimagining of the Don Quixote story, with his First AD Phil Patterson becoming his Sancho Panza. This also worked for Hearts of Darkness, and if used with a bit more subtlety it could really work here as well. The problem is, there are constantly shots of Gilliam looking at windmills or just allusions to Gilliam's Quixote-esque nature, and it becomes overwhelming.

Knowing that this was originally intended to simply be a behind the scenes documentary for the DVD makes so much sense, because it's obvious that the filmmakers had little intention at making a truly interesting narrative, or fleshing out these characters as we see them on screen.

Oftentimes I just feel sorry for Gilliam, not that he doesn't bring a lot of this onto himself, but the man is a truly great filmmaker, and this documentary almost makes him out to be unprofessional and selfish. This may be the case, and I am happy they gave us an honest portrait of a famous director, much like in Hearts of Darkness, but in the end Gilliam just seems like a sad sack. I feel sorry for him because I can relate to his want to fulfill his dream of getting this film made, but I can't quite go all the way to the point of grief with him because the filmmaking simply doesn't allow for it. They draw nothing out of the viewer.

Many cinephiles have an intense fascination with failed productions and this is another in that long list. I found the idea to be more compelling than what the documentary came to be. With no heart for their own filmmaking Fulton and Pepe would do best to continue with 'making of' documentaries for extras on DVD's.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed your summary. I don't think that I want watch this documentary know though.