9780571202805 / 0571202802

Gilliam on Gilliam (Directors on Directors)


Publisher:Faber & Faber



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About the book:

Starting his career as a cartoonist and animator, notably as a member of the classic Monty Python team, Terry Gilliam has gone on to create a series of powerful, idiosyncratic films that are unlike anything else in contemporary cinema. Ambitious, symbolic and visually stunning, the director's work is the result of an uncompromising personal vision that has often brought him into conflict with producers and studios. The story of this impressive career is told by Gilliam himself in this excellent book.

Gilliam on Gilliam is part of Faber and Faber's directors series, other notable reads including works on Hitchcock and Fellini. Each takes the form of a series of interviews, in the present case conducted by Ian Christie, (also responsible for Scorcese on Scorcese), whose incisive questioning frequently brings rewarding responses from his subject, whether dealing with Gilliam's early years ("I certainly didn't want to work my way up!") or seeking details of the processes and inspirations behind his films. One highlight is provided by the conversations surrounding Brazil, commonly considered Gilliam's masterpiece, where the director's frankness in dealing with everything from casting, troublesome shoots and frequent confrontations proves refreshingly honest. Impressive, too, is the discussion of Baron Munchausen, the over-ambitious flop which saw Gilliam briefly derided as "out of control" by Hollywood's money men.

Overall, the ex-Python consistently proves articulate, amusing and inspiring in the face of Christie's enjoyable brand of Spanish Inquisition. His next challenging project should be awaited with interest. --Steve Price

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