The opening credits of The Man Who Killed Don Quixote say, “And now… after more than 25 years making – and unmaking.”
This says it all about the love of film-making and persistence of director/writer Terry Gillian, 79.
He finally got this troubled film to the screen – but not before two documentaries were made about its making. Orson Welles wasn’t able to finish his attempt in 30 years.
The film is based on the 16thcentury classic story by Miguel de Cervantes telling of the madcap adventures of a deluded Spanish knight who loses his mind and is obsessed with the notion of chivalry.
With his sidekick, Sancho Panza, their aspirations are doomed to failure as they look for wrongs to right, battling windmills believing that they are giants.
In this film about a film, Toby (Adam Driver), a bored and cynical advertising film director, is on a movie set when he acquires from a street vendor a bootleg copy of a black and white student film he years earlier in a nearby village.
Jumping on a scooter, he takes off to find that the film has had devastating repercussions on its actors, and that Jarvier (an excellent Jonathan Pryce), an old shoemaker, now believes that he actually is Don Quixote.
On seeing Toby he thinks that he is Sancho Panza, who then becomes involved in Javier’s fantasy.
After accidentally starting a fire in the village, the pair are hunted by the police and ride off into the desert, and into a series of slapstick events – the Don on a white horse and the gangling Sancho on a small donkey.
Terry Gillian (formally from the Monty Python team) has made a personal, imaginative and wacky black comedy set in a world out of balance.
The film swings wildly between fantasy and reality. It has chaotic energy, with an often distracted and unfocused presentation, making it nearly impossible to work out which is which.
It is dedicated to Jean Rochefort and John Hurt, both previously cast as Don Quixote and neither of whom were alive to see it completed.
Like it or loathe it? It will make some viewers bored and frustrated and others engaged and satisfied.
It could be a long 132 minutes.
Showing at Luna Leederville from 11 April.
Watch the trailer…