Lost in La Mancha
In September 2000, when the cameras began rolling on Terry Gilliam’s adaptation of Don Quixote, the production already had a checkered past including 10 years of development, a series of producers and two previous attempts to start the film. The uphill journey was not, however, inconsistent with Gilliam’s career. His more than 15-year history of battling the Hollywood machine had cast him, like Quixote, as a visionary dreamer who rages against gigantic forces. Not long into production disaster strikes: flash floods destroy sets and damage camera equipment; the lead actor falls seriously ill; and on the sixth day production is brought to its knees. Uniquely, after Quixote’s cameras have stopped rolling, the documentary continues to record events as they unfold. The crew waits, insurance men and bondsmen scramble with calculators and interpretations of force majeure, and behind it Gilliam struggles to maintain both belief and momentum in his project.