(2002) dir. Keith Fulton, Louis Pepe
Originally started as a “making of…” documentary about Terry Gilliam’s project The Man Who Killed Don Quixote, Lost in La Mancha wound up documenting instead the disaster that the film’s production became. Lost in La Mancha, in the end, is a decent film about the film-making process and a sidelong biography about Gilliam himself. Gilliam, I think, is one of the more consistently interesting directors working in Hollywood, and this film might have been more interesting if it attempted to contextualize his work more, looking at the challenges of a filmmaker with very un-Hollywood ideas as he tries to cast his visions onto multi-million dollar productions. As it is, the film only gives the briefest mention of his previous films, showing no clips from them and not visiting them in depth. Still, there is a lot to enjoy in this film, amusing scenes and moderately informative glimpses into the world of movie-making.
The highlights of this film are indeed the meager footage from Don Quixote that were shot, suggesting that it could have been quite a fun movie had it seen completion. Johnny Depp and Jean Rochefort were to star in Gilliam’s film and appear in many scenes as the disasters ensue. Ultimately the film production is cancelled with Rochefort develops a nasty prostate infection.
This is a small film, neither ambitious nor radical, quite unlike the work that Gilliam attempts to accomplish. It does have a good humor about it, and I enjoyed it. It was rather amusing.