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Reporting on movies, film festivals, film production, premieres, movie events, industry trends and plays from around the world


The Global Film Village: Only From The Imagination of Terry Gilliam


by Marla Lewin

Heath Ledger and Verne Troyer Photo by Liam Daniel, Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics


The Los Angeles AFI premiere of the latest Terry Gilliam movie,was a spectacle to behold. The Chinese Theatre red carpet blends with the decor, and the rush line produced many fans anxious to see this film. At the gate, I met the producer Sam Hadida, who was anxiously looking for his tickets.


The President of the AFI, Robert Gazzale took the stage and told the history of the opening night of the theatre. Regaling us with stories of the King of Kings premiere and the introduction of Guamont and Christ being presented in that order. On that night at 8:30, the producer of Ben Hur gave a speech, and then DW Griffith, and then Will Hayes, and Mary Pickford pushed a giant green jade button and the Glory of the Scriptures were read. That film began at 11pm.


We were assured that tonight we were not to hear long speeches, and shortly there would appear the man,Terry Gilliam whom wrote, directed and produced the film we were about to see THE IMAGINARIUM OF DOCTOR PARNASSUS. To Terry Gilliam "Time" does not matter. He gave us Time Bandits, and many other flights of fancy for past forty years, from Monty Python and the Holy Grail, to the greatest of images, Brazil and 12 Monkeys, he gives us an everyman, who soars, as Baron Munchausen. Gilliam has given us magic in our lives. When Sean Connery was honored, as part of a previous AFI Tribute, they asked him about making Time Bandits, and he replyed,"Crazy," in all the best possible ways.


Then Terry Gilliam approached the stage, like an excited child he exclaimed, I didn't imagine to show the film on such a grand screen, I had made it for an I phone. He called the film a miracle, with many thanks to Johnny Depp, Colin Farrell, and Jude Law. He thanked his daughter Amy, for getting him off his ass, and he finished it for Heath Ledger, so that the world could see his last film and the rich work he had accomplished. Terry then presented Christopher Plummer, who he said is in every movie this year. Tomorrow night he will be honored by the AFI in a TRIBUTE, along with a screening and LA premiere of LAST STATION.


Terry Gilliam Photo taken by Liam Daniel, Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics


The images in the film, do not disappoint. The performances are perfect. There is magic and mysticism, and we were told by the great GIlliam to have fun. It is ironic that the film reflects on phoney charity, since 40% of Heath's work had been shot, when his friends, Depp, Farrell, and Law came onboard and worked for free, to benefit Heath's daughter. The ending title reads simply, "a film by Heath and his friends".



Throughout the ages there are lines which have already been written about floating down the river Styx, timeless, deathless. When these lines were written for the film, there was no knowledge what meaning they would hold. Heath Ledger will remain forever, one who will live beautiful and loved. We thank Terry Gilliam for this monumental film, with all its hurtles to overcome, which like the unconscious mind, leads us through mazes of tarot cards of hang men, demons, green pastures, purple mountains and brightly colored dreams. It is about immortality, and love.


Parnassos in Greece was home to Apollo, God of the Sun, who relied on his oracle, to guide him. It was the place of the muses, who inspired great literature, music, poetry. In Paris, Mont Parnass is the area where young poets recited verses, as they walked the streets. I imagine, Terry Galliam meant this as a metaphor, might he be Dr. Parnassus.


For lots more about Terry Gilliam check out his site.


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About MarlaLewinGFV

Lewin Marla
(Global Film Village)

Marla is a producer, playwright, screenwriter, publicist and now a journalist. She attends 12 to 20 film festivals per year. She has spoken on filmmaking at many festivals including Cannes and SXSW.



Los Angeles

United States

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