“Is the film better left in your head?” The question which dominates Keith Fulton and Lou Pepe’s passage through the great Terry Gilliam’s wonderful mind.
The documentary ‘He Dreams of Giants’ diligently charts Terry Gilliam’s several attempts of adapting Cervantes’ ‘Don Quixote’. Spanning over two decades the production of the film was famously seen to be doomed or cursed by freak storms, illness, money and legal issues which obstructed the reality of Gilliam’s dream materialising. Against all odds, the impossible occurs when the film, ‘The Man Who Killed Don Quixote’, recommences filming for the final time in 2017.
The film poignantly depicts the struggle of Gilliam as he attempts to get his visions out of his system and onto the big screen. It is his inner turmoil that propels the film. His frustration as an artist challenges the audience to wonder why creatives create if they can never be truly satisfied with their work.
The documentary shows how fully engulfed Gilliam is by this film. He himself is the modern-day equivalent of Don Quixote, a man whose body is aging before his spirit which is pouring out for all to see. The documentary may initially appear as a delightfully insightful behind the scenes of a critically
acclaimed adventure film, in actuality it is a fascinating embodiment of Gilliam who thankfully didn’t “leave it as a dream”.
Erin Quigley BA Film and Screen Studies, London College of Communication
He Dreams of Giants is streaming on Oct 31 & Nov 2.