Terry Gilliam coming to Karlovy Vary

The director announced his plans over social media

Former Monty Python member Terry Gilliam announced over Facebook that he will be bringing his new film The Man Who Killed Don Quixote to the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival. The news has not yet been confirmed by the festival, and the film is not yet in the online schedule.

It is also not clear if he will be receiving any awards.

“DQ and I are on the Film Festival trail. Brussels 1st. See you there on the 20th. I'll be wearing clothes,” a post of Terry Gilliam's official Facebook feed said.


A photo with the post showed Gilliam on a mule trailing behind Don Quixote on a horse, with a banner stating “Brussels … June 20, Munich … July 2, Karlovy Vary … July 3.”

The long-delayed film premiered May 19 as the closing film of the Cannes International Film Festival, where it played out of competition, and reportedly received a record 15-minute ovation at the end.

The film has had such a troubled production history that a documentary was made about it in 2002 called Lost in La Mancha, after an earlier attempt to make the film ended with just a few minutes being completed. At that time, Johnny Depp was set to star, and the budget was $32 million.

The script then became locked in legal battles between producers and insurers, which prevented any possible filming for several years.

Depp was not available when funding for a second try came through. Gilliam announced over social media in March 2017 that he had started filming, saying that was the reason he had not been posting as much as usual to his social media feeds. Filming ended in June.

The 132 minute film now stars Adam Driver, Jonathan Pryce, Stellan Skarsgård and Olga Kurylenko. The budget was reported at $16 million, with Amazon Studios and Eurimages among the production companies.

The film's troubles lasted all the way to just before the Cannes screening. A producer who was involved in some early stages sued to block the finished film's distribution. He lost, clearing the way for the film to finally be seen — about 30 years after Gilliam first thought of the idea.

The film is not a straight adaptation of the famous novel the novel Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes. Instead, it takes inspiration from some of the ideas and includes an advertising executive from modern times in the plot. The executive returns to a village where he shot a student film some years ago, and gets involved with a delusional man who thinks he is the character from the novel.

Jonathan Pryce, who also was also involved in the earlier production in a different role, said the script had been substantially changed over the years and was now much better. A time travel element in the original script has been changed, for example.

Terry Gilliam was at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival in 2006 with his film Tideland. He was also in Prague in 2005 to film the Brothers Grimm, a fairytale-inspired work starring Matt Damon and Heath Ledger. During that time he donated his socks to Kino Světozor, which named their video shop Terry's Socks (Terryho ponožky). It is still open under the name Terry Posters and sells original and reproduction Czechoslovak film posters in addition to DVDs of hard-to-find art films.

In 2009 Gilliam went to the River Film Festival in Písek, South Bohemia, and received the Miroslav Ondříček Award, which Czech cinematographer Ondříček presented personally. 

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