Theatrical Release Date: 02 Aug 2002
Home Ent. Release Date: 23 Feb 2003
Running Time: 93mins
Lost In La Mancha may be the first 'un-making of' documentary. In a genre that exists to hype films before their release, Lost In La Mancha presents an unexpected twist: it is the story of a film that does not exist. Instead of a sanitised glimpse behind the scenes, Lost In La Mancha offers a unique, in-depth look at the harsher realities of filmmaking. With drama that ranges from personal conflicts to epic storms, this is a record of a film disintegrating. In September 2000, when the cameras began rolling on Terry Gilliam's adaptation of Don Quixote, the production already had a chequered past including ten years of development, a series of producers and two previous attempts to start the film. Gilliam had achieved the difficult task of financing the $32 million budget entirely within Europe - a feat that would provide him with freedom from the creative restrictions of Hollywood. The uphill journey was not, however, inconsistent with Gilliam's career: his more than fifteen year history of battling the Hollywood machine had cast him, like Quixote, as a visionary dreamer who rages against gigantic forces. Joining the Madrid based production team eight weeks before the shoot, Lost In La Mancha directors Keith Fulton and Louis Pepe witness the successes as well as the failures. Problems are quick to emerge: the multilingual crew struggles to communicate detailed ideas; actors remain absent as they run over schedule on other projects; and everything from untrained horses to a sound stage - that isn't sound-proof - threatens the film. But through it all, there is the palpable, mounting excitement that Gilliam's ideas will finally come to fruition: the crew watch test footage of marauding giants; puppeteers rehearse a troop of life-size marionettes; Gilliam and Johnny Depp brainstorm over the script. By the time Jean Rochefort straps on his Quixote armour, success, though far off, seems almost possible.