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Lost in La Mancha


Year: 2002 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 (XWide) 
Certificate: BBFC 15 Cert – Not suitable for under 15s 
Subtitles: The level of subtitling in this film is unknown to WSC 
Directed by Unknown 
Starring: Unknown  

It should have been a dream, it really should. When visionary director Terry Gilliam headed out into the Spanish wilderness around La Mancha with Johnny Depp to film 'The Man Who Killed Don Quixote' everyone's hopes were very high. However what happened was nothing short of a nightmare.

Half the footage was wrecked by the sound of the Spanish air force practising overhead, an 80 year old in one of the main parts was hospitalised after nearly paralysing himself on a horse and Vanessa Paradis didn't even bother turning up for her role. Then, just as it seemed that it couldn't get any worse, a freak storm washed away the sets and equipment. No wonder Johnny Depp was seen making conversation with nearby fish and Terry Gilliam wandered off into the middle of the storm laughing like a lunatic. Needless to say the film never ended up being made.

However out of this fiasco came Lost In La Mancha. Directors Keith Fulton and Louis Pepe had been enlisted to document the shooting of the film and what in other circumstances would have been an interesting curio to add onto a DVD became an absorbing tale all of it's own. As well as capturing all the pieces of freakish bad luck that destroyed the 32 million dollar production they have diligently worked to show the viewer what the film would have looked like under happier circumstances through creative use of what footage remained and some rather clever animations.

Lost In La Mancha is a film that is so compelling and outrageous that tells such a remarkable tale that it seems inadequate to call it a documentary, and whilst it can never fill the void left by the failed production it says more about the creative spirit than a hundred blockbusters ever could. With Hollywood stars, insanity and the destruction of one of the largest budgets in European film history on show you'd be mad to miss it.

David Goody

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Screenings of this film:

2002/2003 Spring Term (35mm)