Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Lost in La Mancha

FIG. 1

Lost in La Mancha (2002) - Directed by Keith Fulton, Louis Pepe.

Lost in La Mancha is the surviving on set documentary of the uphill struggle Director Terry Gilliam went through trying to film his version of "The man who killed Don Quixote". While showing his torment in making the film, it also shows the audience the possible problem when creating a movie. Unfortunately for Gilliam, everything that could go wrong, did go wrong. In the documentary Gilliam says, "If it's easy , I don't do it; if it's almost impossible to do, I have a go" (Gilliam: 2002). This sums up his whole ordeal when making this adaptation of the film. People told him it would be near impossible, yet he tried it anyway because that's how he's worked his entire life.

The documentary became almost impossible to watch by the end of the movie because Gilliam went through so much pain. The finance for the film was lowered to a near unworkable amount, he got his actors late, the extras hadn't been trained, the weather was always against then, the last sound set in Madrid was awful and what finally killed the production was his main actor, Jean Rochefort, who became too ill to continue the film.

There is one other problem that Gilliam had to battle when creating his movie, and David Loftus expresses it like this, "As a film project, Quixote already seems to be cursed"(Loftus: 2003). This is because the project had been taken up by Orson Welles in 1957, the project stayed with him for 20 years but finally ended when his main actor Francisco Reiguera died before the picture could be completed.

Even though the Gilliam project was never completed, he still gave something to the audience; through Fulton and Pepe's editing of endless hours of pre-production footage, they all finally came up with something that can live in the memory of every audience member. Phil Stubbs described this as "The editing process played like an autopsy, in which moments that had seemed insignificant at the time now revealed themselves as clues to the death of Gilliam's production." (Stubbs: 2003) By the end of the documentary we all have sucked into the world of the director and the heartache of losing your movie, which we can all learn from and develop to make sure it doesn't happen to us.

Bernard Bouix, Executive Producer of "The man who killed Don Quixote" expresses, "The battle of Don Quixote is a battle against reality, and I think Film making is a battle against reality. But in this case, reality has been stronger than the dream." (Bouix: 2002)


Gilliam. T, (2002), Lost in La Mancha

Loftus. D, (2003), Documentary Films, Available at, [Accessed on 28th September]

Stubbs. P, (2003), SMART, [Online], Available at, [Accessed on 28th September]

Bouix. B, (2002), Lost in La Mancha

Illustration Bibliography

Fig. 1, Lost in La Mancha Poster, 2002 , [Photograph], 

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