25 April 2014

Lost in La Mancha

Lost in La Mancha 2002
  • Directors: Keith Fulton and Louis Pepe
  • Based on book: No, well sort of. Don Quixote is by Cervantes of course
  • Involved: Johnny Depp,  Terry Gilliam, Jean Rochefort
    • Johnny Depp  Nightmare on Elm Street, Platoon, Slow Burn, Cry-Baby, Edward Scissorhands, What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, Arizona Dream, Benny and Joon, Ed Wood, Don Juan DeMarco, Dead Man, Nick of Time, Donnie Brasco, The Brave, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, The Astronaut’s Wife, Sleepy Hollow, The Man Who Cried, Chocolat, Blow, From Hell, Lost in La Mancha, Pirates of the Caribbean (all four of them), Once Upon a Time in Mexico, Secret Window, Finding Neverland, Libertine, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Sweeney Todd, The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus, Public Enemies, Alice in Wonderland, The Tourist
    • Jean Rochefort – Mr. Bean’s Holiday, L’Homme du train, Ridicule, Le château de ma mère
    • Terry Gilliam – The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus, The Brothers Grimm, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Twelve Monkeys, Fisher King, Brazil, Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life, The Life of Brian (writer)
  • Why? JD. 24th in JD marathon
  • Seen:  Once before. Now: April 20, 2014
Last time we watched this I wanted so much to see the finished Don Quixote film. That hasn’t happened. The film was never made.  A shame.
I often say that in my next life I’ll be a film director.  This documentary doesn’t encourage me. Film making is an awful lot of work and it can all go wrong. As we see here, it often does and can end in heartbreak.
But Lost in La Mancha is fascinating. Though the crew is well aware of the difficulties ahead of them they all start out optimistically. Soon, however, they are saying things like, “A lot of potential for chaos here”, and “I’m getting very nervous”, and “sheer panic”, and “everything that can go wrong goes wrong”.
And it does.  The first days of shooting are destroyed by NATO bombers flying over the set though they’d said they wouldn’t, and a flash flood after a hail-riddled downpour – in the desert!  Poor Jean Rochefort is in pain and is flown back to France for treatment for a prostate infection that drags on.
And everything falls apart.  It’s sad to see. JD in black hair with a white streak playing Sancho Panza and Jean Rochefort as the perfect Don Quixote – it would have been so good.
But as one of the crew says after the project is abandoned, “The most painful thing was seeing reality win over Don Quixote. Because it did.”
Poor Terry Gilliam. This one would have been a masterpiece. But the Curse of Quixote was too strong.
It’s hard to rate a documentary but this one really made me want things to work out. I felt like one of the crew.

4 ½ * of 5

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