Louis Pepe and Keith Fulton had made a documentary
about a Terry Gilliam movie before. The Hamster
Factor chronicled the director during production of Twelve
Monkeys. So it seemed they’d be a great pick to document
the making of… excuse me, the events transpiring during the
September 2000 shoot of Gilliam’s The Man Who Killed Don
Quixote. Little did they know that they were about
to witness the near-operatic unraveling of the production.
(The curse of Don Quixote kicked Orson Welles’ ass
too.) Gilliam’s shoot, visited by every disaster short of
Biblical plagues, makes compelling viewing. After having heroically
raised the $32 million from European investors, Gilliam saw
torrential rains, floods, and actor’s illness take their toll,
shutting down the production in a matter of days.
There’s not a lot to say about this movie, except “Go see
it.” The technical aspects of Lost In La Mancha are
nothing to write home about. Its watchability comes from the
filmmakers’ access to pivotal moments, which in turn comes
from their excellent prior relationship with Gilliam. His
loss becomes their gain, but judging from his fantastic storyboards
and the snippets of footage of Lost In La Mancha, it’s
our loss too.