In 2002, Keith Fulton and Louis Pepe released “Lost in La Mancha,” a documentary covering director Terry Gilliam‘s failed attempt at adapting “Don Quixote” as a feature-length film at the beginning of the decade. For years, it seemed the “Lost in La Mancha” would be the closest Gilliam came to making a “Don Quixote” movie, but the right combination of events – and a bankable lead – would result in “The Man Who Killed Don Quixote” in 2018. So what better way to celebrate Gilliam’s decades-long quest than with another Fulton and Pepe documentary?
“He Dreams of Giants,” the new film by the documentarian duo, will have its world premiere as part of the DOC NYC film festival on Sunday, November 10. When the film was first announced last year, the Fulton and Pepe described their follow-up as being less focused on the production details and more focused on the emotional state of Gilliam as director. “We began to think this is more a film about an internal struggle in an artist’s mind,” Fulton told Variety in 2018. “What is it like for an artist to be standing on the brink of actually finishing this project finally?”
In the original Variety interview, the two filmmakers also referenced a “mindscreen” approach they took to Gilliam’s direction, focusing the camera on his reactions to the events around him. The article describes these shots as being core to the narrative that “He Dreams of Giants” constructs, and certainly reinforces the idea that this film is more emotional than its predecessor. It will be interesting to see how far Fulton and Pepe are willing to take the narrative to capture the experience; after years of hard work to bring this to the screen, the idea of watching Gilliam grapple with his mixed reviews would make for a powerful, if sad, cap to this long journey.
For more, check out our review of “The Man Who Killed Don Quixote,” where we described the film as “neither as bad as you fear nor as good as it deserves to be.”