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Gilliam on Gilliam (Directors on Directors) [Hardcover]

Terry Gilliam , Ian Christie
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

1 Sep 1998 Directors on Directors
Terry Gilliam, director of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, first came to attention as the iconoclastic animator and founding member of the Monty Python team. In the 1970s he emerged as an increasingly ambitious filmmaker, moving from the collaborative Python projects, Monty Python and the Holy Grail and Monty Python's Life of Brian, to the first inklings of his own distinctively dark, fantastic, and strangely hilarious vision in Jabberwocky and Time Bandits. In the 1980s he produced his masterpiece, Brazil. This has been followed by The Adventures of Baron yon Munchausen, The Fisher King, and Twelve Monkeys.Gilliam on Gilliam offers the filmmaker's intensely lucid and thoughtful commentary on his own wildly imaginative and bizarre work, as well as on the contemporary cinema. This is a rare view of the work of an artist of rare talent.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber (1 Sep 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0571191908
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571191901
  • Product Dimensions: 23.6 x 16 x 3.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 77,887 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Amazon Review

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 --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Ian Christie is a well-respected lecturer on film who has co-edited Scorsese on Scorsese, edited Gilliam on Gilliam and is the author of a study of the films of Powell and Pressburger, Arrows of Desire. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
This is one of the best of Faber and Faber's directors 'on' series, enriched by Gilliam's incredibly entertaining and articulate views on his films. He frequently surprises us with his honesty concerning his previous films and what he views as his past failures. Arguably the most fascinating parts of the books are his discussions of his best films, notably The Time Bandits, Brazil and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. This is a incredibly refreshing read, resurrecting the belief in the potential of the filmmaker as auteur, from a man whose works, even if you dislike them, are amongst the greatest visions of the twentieth century.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.5 out of 5 stars  6 reviews
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating, flawed, and funny 15 Feb 2000
By Tim Benzedrine - Published on
As someone said on the back cover (neatly stealing my idea), Gilliam on Gilliam is like something Phillip Dick might have written. It is paranoid, neurotic, nutty, and fascinating look at filmmaker Terry Gilliam.
It is, truly, Gilliam on Gilliam, with the book in total an interview with the filmmaker. Gilliam talks about the battle for Brazil, his frustrations in the early Python films (was was stigmatized as the arty image guy), and his intricate intentions in later films.
Most interesting to me, other than how it reminded me of how much of his films, sadly, I had forgotten, was how much visual work he puts into his films. That is relatively clear from screen, but even more apparent after you read through this book.
Equally interesting to the biz geek in me was reading Terry's pitched battle for budget credibility. After having budget troubles on two films (Brazil and Baron Munchausen), Gilliam had a financial scarlet letter to sport and it has been tough for him to convince the studios that he is not a risky budgetary bet. Hard to believe that such a prolific and successful filmmaker could still be auditioning, but there it is.
Anyway, an interesting and informative book. Not for those who are mildly interested, but a treat for Gilliam geeks who want the inside skinny on everything from De Niro's bizarre behavior in Brazil, to the casting of Jon Pryce, to underlying mythic chain operating in The Fisher King.
4.0 out of 5 stars An interesting read. 1 Oct 2013
By Ty - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I am a fan of Mr. Gilliam's work so receiving insight about his child hood and how he evolve into an artist is very inspiring. I am an fan of MAD and Harvey Kurtzman to know he was able to work under one of his idols is awesome. Thanks
2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great! (For Gilliam fans, that is...) 11 April 2001
By Pedro Pontes - Published on
If you happen to be a Terry Gilliam fan, you have to read this. If you don't happen to be a Gilliam fan, but are an aspiring filmmaker, this is an invaluable source of insight. Hell, there are many pros who should read this!
Reading these interviews puts you inside the creative mind of a filmmaking genius (yes, I dare say that). There's a reason for everything that's on the screen, and one understands that Gilliam's knack for weirdness is a little more than that... there's more to his filmmaking virtuosism (wild camera angles and moves) than there is when they make it in your average Nike comercial. If you wanna know what I mean, well, read the book.
Also, I don't recommend this much to Python fans. Certainly, a good part of it talks about the Python days, but it doesn't talk about their creative process much - it's more about the making of the films and Gilliam's animations.
10 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent overview and insight into Terry's films and mind 21 Jun 1999
By A Customer - Published on
If I had to utter one complaint about this piece, it would be that it is terribly, if understandably, one-sided. The book is terrific in showcasing Gilliam's opinions and feelings on his career and films, but that's the only opinion we receive. After hearing Burgess denounce his masterpiece, "A Clockwork Orange," I've been under the impression that an artist's opinion on his own work, while priceless, is nothing more than that; an opinion. This must be especially true in the medium of film, which more than any other medium is a collaborative effort. A book including interviews with producers, actors, technicians, designers as well as the director would make for a thorough and multi-layered overview on any film. Having said that, this particular book still succeeded in offering a peak, no matter how slight, into the workings of what I humbly consider to be an unspoken genius of our times.
0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The best book on Gilliam 18 Oct 2003
By SPM - Published on
If you like Terry Gilliam's movies, you need this book. He covers his childhood in surprising detail, talks about the Monty Python years, and then gets into each movie. The book drags near the end, but that's primarily due to the exhaustion you feel reading about this stuff --- like his movies, you can get overwhelmed by the details. This is the best on Gilliam I've read, and one of the best books in the 'Director on Director' series.
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