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Film Studies 101
Feature
The A-Z Of Terry Gilliam
An alphabetical guide to the singular - and possibly cursed - director

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As a filmmaker, Terence Vance Gilliam’s career has been, if nothing else, eventful. He’s grappled with studios more publicly than almost anyone else, seen disaster strike nearly every film he works on, and has constantly pursued his appropriately quixotic task of dragging Don Quixote to the big screen. With all this drama, disaster and success, it’s easy to forget he was once one sixth of Monty Python. He’ll be joining the rest of the surviving troupe onstage at London’s O2 later in 2014, but not before the release of his latest film, The Zero Theorem.  

WORDS BEN KIRBY
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Notorious for grappling with studios over money and his creative vision, Gilliam has taken matters into his own hands when faced with implacable execs. In 1985, he placed a full-page ad in Variety after Universal bigwig Sidney Sheinberg refused to release his version of Brazil. It read simply, “Dear Sid Sheinberg, when are you going to release my film, ‘BRAZIL’? Terry Gilliam.” After some illicit screenings and a slew of awards, the film saw the light of day in the US. Since then, Gilliam has made the most of advertising in his own, unconventional way. Upset at the short shrift Tideland was given by the studio, he took to the streets in 2006, accompanied by a cup for spare change and a cardboard sign, which read: “Studio-less film maker. Family to support. Will direct for food.” In 2011, Gilliam embraced advertising much more effectively, as he directed The Wholly Family, funded by the Garofalo Pasta Company. According to Gilliam, “the only stipulations were the film had to be made in Naples and nobody gets killed in it. I did exactly what I wanted to do.”

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