Hot Docs 2012: Lost In La Mancha

It's the movie Terry Gilliam never got to make: Don Quixote. After a decade spent trying to get his ambitious dream project off the ground, the director of Brazil and The Fisher King (and former member of Monty Python) had finally pulled together enough money to start shooting. He had a script. He had a cast. Awesome old French guy Jean Rochefort was going to play the delusional knight. Johnny Depp was going to play a modernized, time-travelling take on Sancho Panza. The actors and crew had begun to arrive on set. The filming had started. And then all hell broke loose.

Lost In La Mancha tells the story of Gilliam's own quixotic quest to get the movie finished — and of his eventually failure. The behind-the-scenes documentary follows the production as it is quickly felled by plagues of near-Biblical proportions: torrential rains and flooding wash away their equipment; fighter jets from a nearby military base ruin their shots; Rochefort falls ill, crippled with prostate pain when he tries to ride a horse. (Which, y'know, is kind of a big part of playing Don Quixote.) It's an eye-opening look at just how much of a monumental challenge making a movie can be — and at just how much can go terribly, terribly wrong.

- Adam Bunch

Lost In La Mancha is screening Sat. May 5 at 7pm at Innis Town Hall. Tickets 'n' stuff here.

Find all of our coverage of Hot Docs 2012 here. 

Adam Bunch is the Editor-in-Chief of the Little Red Umbrella and the creator of the Toronto Dreams Project. You can read his posts here, follow him on Twitter here, or email him at


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