Lost in La Mancha is a documentary of the unmaking of the film ‘The Man Who Killed Don Quixote’ aspired to be made by director Terry Gilliam. During its production it seemed that everything was out to sabotage the film from one thing to another: actors failing to turn up on set, freak thunderstorms and the star dropping out due to serious illness which resulted in the films total collapse. Everything was out of Terry Gilliam’s control and was just down to bad luck and being in the wrong place at the wrong time, things that could easily happen to any director showing how easy a production can easily turn into every director’s worst nightmare.
Thinking that Terry Gilliam couldn’t get more unlucky than he did after what happened in "Lost in La Mancha", this could be reconsidered after the shock of Heath Ledger's death part way through his later production of ‘The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus’ in 2009.
‘Despite the shoot's lack of success, "Lost in La Mancha" can only serve to raise one's opinion of Gilliam, whose enthusiasm and imagination keep the shoot going long after it seems impossible to continue. Watching him finally resigned to failure is heartbreaking.’ (Bushel, L (2002) Comparing his energy during the pre-production to being told the film is being dropped you can see that he is gradually see him being defeated the less chance he sees it being completed. Even though the film didn’t get made you can still see glimmers of his vision in the footage that got shot, costumes and the animated story boards, it is a shame to see all that effort disappear as the props and costumes are boxed up. Gilliam’s experience is an example of how though the film industry can be, there are always going to be risks involved in film making he was just unfortunate.
Laura Bushell, 2002. BBC Film Review: Lost in La Mancha (2002) [Online] 3/10/11 Available at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/films/2002/07/24/lost_in_la_mancha_2002_review.shtml
Fig. 1 - Film Title Image - http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0308514/