June 20, 2018

Terry Gilliam’s Don Quixote adaptation somehow encounters more trouble


“Don Quixote and Sancho Panza,” Honoré Daumier, c. 1868

Just over two months ago, we posted the trailer for Terry Gilliam’s Quixote film adaptation, The Man Who Killed Don Quixote. It was something of a triumph for the film and its director, the end of a long and winding road.

As Lena Wilson had summarized the saga of the film’s production over at Slate:

If development hell were a real place, Terry Gilliam would have his own wing. The British filmmaker has been trying to get his passion project The Man Who Killed Don Quixote off the ground since 1998, meeting all manner of hilarious and frustrating problems in the process. After facing down unreliable financiers, no-show actors, and the apparent wrath of God in the form of a flash flood that wiped his set away, the film finally wrapped last summer. Now, if this new international trailer is any indication, the movie actually exists — and it looks like it’s going to be as bonkers as its production history.

In the months since we wrote about the film, it even premiered at Cannes. It had made it.

And so this latest development feels like nothing short of performance art, a marketing stunt that tries to play out a quixotic drama on a meta level.

Is is not a stunt, however: as Julie Muncy reports for io9, Gilliam has lost the rights to his little film that could.

The man who killed The Man Who Killed Don Quixote is Paul Branco, the film’s first producer through his company Alfama. A Paris court has ruled in Branco’s favor, saying that Alfama holds all rights to the film.

No word yet on what this will mean for its wider release, but Gilliam will have to pay the production company $10,000 in damages.



Ryan Harrington is a senior editor at Melville House.