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Gilliam, Terry 1940–

GILLIAM, Terry 1940–

(Jerry Gillian)

PERSONAL

Full name, Terry Vance Gilliam; born November 22, 1940, in Minneapolis, MN; immigrated to England, 1969; son of James Hall (a carpenter) and Beatrice (maiden name, Vance) Gilliam; married Maggie Weston (a makeup and hair designer), 1973; children: Amy Rainbow, Holly du Bois, Harry Thunder. Education: Occidental College, B.A., 1962. Avocational Interests: "Too busy."

Addresses: Agent—Casarotto Ramsay & Associates, National House, 60-66 Wardour St., London W1V 4ND England; William Morris Agency, One William Morris Pl., Beverly Hills, CA 90212.

Career: Actor, writer, producer, director, screenwriter, animator, and illustrator. Monty Python (comedy troupe), member of company (with Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, and Michael Palin), performing in concert tours in the United States, England, and Canada in the 1970s. Help! (satirical magazine), New York City, associate editor, 1962–64; freelance cartoonist, 1964–65; Carson Roberts Advertising Agency, Los Angeles, CA, copywriter and art director, 1966–67; freelance illustrator for periodicals, including Sunday editions of the London Times, Nova, and Queen, 1967; Londoner, artistic director, 1967; British Gas Board, animator of "The Great Gas Gala" campaign, 1972; illustrator for numerous humor magazines, including Mad; directed a series of commercials for Nike, 2001–02; Cannes Film Festival, member of jury, 2001.

Member: British Film Institute (member of board of directors, 1997).

Awards, Honors: Special Award for graphics, British Academy of Film and Television Arts, 1970, Silver Rose Award, Montreux Television Festival, 1971, both for Monty Python's "Flying Circus"; Saturn Award nominations, best director and best writing (with Michael Palin), Academy of Science Fiction, Horror and Fantasy Films, 1982, International Fantasy Film Award nomination, best film, Fantasporto, 1983, all for Time Bandits; Grand Prix Special du Jury, Cannes Film Festival, International Fantasy Film Award nomination, Fantasporto, 1983, for Monty Python's "The Meaning of Life"; Film Award nomination, best short film, British Academy of Film and Television Arts, 1984, for The Crimson Permanent Assurance; Academy Award nomination (with Tom Stoppard and Charles McKeown), best screenplay, and Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards, best director and best screenplay (with Tom Stoppard and Charles McKeown), 1985, all for Brazil; Michael Balcon Award, outstanding British contribution to cinema (with Monty Python), British Academy of Film and Television Arts, 1987; honorary D.F.A., Occidental College, 1987, and Royal College of Art, 1989; Silver Lion, and Golden Lion Award nomination, Venice Film Festival, 1991, People's Choice Award, Toronto Film Festival, 1991, Saturn Award nomination, best director, Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Films, 1992, Golden Globe Award nomination, best director, 1992, all for The Fisher King; Saturn Award nomination, best directory, Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Films, Golden Bear Award nomination and third place from the Reader Jury of the Berliner Morgenpost, Berlin International Film Festival, 1996, Empire Award, best director, 1997, all for Twelve Monkeys; Golden Palm Award nomination, Cannes Film Festival, 1998, for Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas; Time-Machine Honorary Award, Catalonian International Film Festival, 2000; Capri Legend Award, Capri, Hollywood, 2003; Honorary D.F.A, Occidental College, 2004; Honorary doctorate, Wimbledon School of Art, 2004; Visionary Award, Stockholm Film Festival, 2005; Leopard of Honor, Lo-carno International Film Festival, 2005; FIPRESCI Prize and Golden Seashell Award nomination, San Sebastian International Film Festival, 2005, for Tideland; Golden Lion Award nomination, Venice Film Festival, 2005, for The Brothers Grimm.

CREDITS

Television Appearances; Series:

Do Not Adjust Your Set, Thames TV, 1968.

We Have Ways of Making You Laugh, 1968.

Marty, BBC, 1968.

Monty Python's "Flying Circus" (also known as Gwen Dibley's "Flying Circus" and Monty Python), BBC, 1969–74, broadcast in the United States on PBS, 1974–82.

Narrator, The Last Machine, BBC, 1995.

Himself and various characters, The Sketch Show Story, BBC, 2001.

Himself, Festival Pass with Chris Gore, Starz, 2002.

Television Appearances; Miniseries:

Himself, Around the World in 80 Days (documentary; also known as Michael Palin: Around the World in 80 Days), Arts and Entertainment, 1989.

Television Appearances; Specials:

Pythons in Deutschland, Bavaria, Atelier, 1971.

Various characters, Euroshow 71, 1971.

(Uncredited) Various roles, Monty Python's "Fliegender Zirkus," BBC1, 1972.

Monty Python & the Holy Grail Location Report (also known as On Location with the Pythons), BBC, 1974.

Himself, The Pythons: Somewhere in Tunisia, Circa A.D. 1979 (also known as The Pythons; documentary), BBC, 1979.

Himself, The Meaning of Monty Python's "Meaning of Life," 1983.

Himself, What Is Brazil? (documentary), 1985.

Himself and various roles, Life of Python (also known as Life of Python: Monty Python 20th Anniversary Omnibus), Showtime, 1990.

Himself and various roles, Twenty Years of Monty Python (Parrot Sketch Not Included) (also known as Parrot Sketch Not Included and Parrot Sketch Not Included: Twenty Years of Monty Python), Showtime, 1990.

"U.S. Comedy Arts Festival Tribute to Monty Python" (also known as "The USCAF Tribute to Monty Python" and "Monty Python's 'Flying Circus': Live at Aspen"), HBO Comedy Special, HBO, 1998.

Himself, Pythonland, BBC, 1999.

Himself, From Spam to Sperm, BBC, 1999.

Himself, BBC crew member, Gumby, Onan Vandergoy, and Gorilla, Python Night, BBC, 1999.

Himself, It's … the Monty Python Story (documentary; also known as Life of Python), BBC and Arts and Entertainment, 1999.

Himself, John Cleese & Anders Lund Madsen, TV2 Danmark, 1999.

Himself, 30 Years of Monty Python: A Revelation (also known as It's the Monty Python Show), 1999.

Himself, Forever Ealing (documentary), TCM and Channel 4, 2002.

Himself, Concert for George (documentary), 2003.

Terryho dotocna (also known as Terry's Wrap Up Party), 2004.

Ceremonia de clausura, 2005.

50 Greatest Comedy Sketches, Channel 4, 2005.

San Sebastian 2005: Croncia de Carlos Boyero, 2005.

Television Appearances; Episodic:

Guest, Late Night with David Letterman, NBC, 1982, 1989, 1995.

Himself, "Terry Gilliam," The South Bank Show, ITV, 1991.

Naked Hollywood, Arts and Entertainment, 1991.

Guest, The Charlie Rose Show, PBS, 1996, 1998.

Guest, Ruby, BBC, 1999.

Trigger Happy TV, Channel 4, 2000.

Himself, "Wallace & Gromit Go Chicken," Omnibus, BBC, 2000.

Himself, "Monty Python's Flying Circus," Comedy Connections, BBC, 2005.

(Archive footage) Himself, Cinema mil, Televisio de Catalunya, 2005.

Magacine, 2005.

Guest, The Frank Skinner Show, 2005.

Himself, Film '72, BBC, 2005.

Breakfast, BBC, 2005.

Also appeared as guest, The Uncle Floyd Show; himself, "The Films of Terry Gilliam," The Directors, Encore; in Hotel Babylon.

Television Work; Series:

Animator, Do Not Adjust Your Set, Thames TV, 1968.

Animator, We Have Ways of Making You Laugh, 1968.

Animator, Marty, BBC, 1968.

Animator, director, and series creator, Monty Python's "Flying Circus" (also known as Gwen Dibley's "Flying Circus" and Monty Python), BBC, 1969 74, broadcast in the United States on PBS, 1974–82.

The Marty Feldman Comedy Machine, ABC, 1971.

Creator of title sequence, William, CBS, 1972.

Television Work; Specials:

Animator, Monty Python's "Fliegender Zirkus," 1972.

(Archive footage) Animator, Parrot Sketch Not Included: Twenty Years of Monty Python, Showtime, 1989.

Title designer, "U.S. Comedy Arts Festival Tribute to Monty Python" (also known as "The USCAF Tribute to Monty Python" and "Monty Python's 'Flying Circus': Live at Aspen"), HBO Comedy Special, HBO, 1998.

Film Appearances:

Various roles, And Now for Something Completely Different (also known as Monty Python's "And Now For Something Completely Different"), Columbia, 1971.

Patsy, weird old man, and Keeper of the Bridge of Death, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Cinema 5, 1975.

Various, Pleasure at Her Majesty's (also known as Monty Python Meets Beyond the Fringe), 1976.

Man with rock, Jabberwocky, Cinema 5, 1977.

Masked Commando, prophet, jailer, Geoffrey, and revolutionary, Monty Python's "Life of Brian" (also known as Life of Brian), Warner Bros., 1979.

Various roles, Monty Python Live at the Hollywood Bowl, Columbia, 1982.

Various roles, Monty Python's "The Meaning of Life" (also known as The Meaning of Life), Universal, 1983.

(Uncredited) Workman, The Crimson Permanent Assurance, 1983.

Himself, The Secret Policeman's Private Parts, Miramax, 1984.

Dr. Imhaus, Spies like Us, Warner Bros., 1985.

Himself, Cinematon (documentary), 1985.

(Uncredited) Smoking man at Shang-ri La Towers, Brazil, Universal, 1985.

(Uncredited) Irritating singer, The Adventures of Baron Munchausen (also known as Die Abenteuer des Baron von Munchhausen), Columbia, 1988.

Himself, The Battle of Brazil: A Video History (documentary), Universal, 1996.

Himself, The Hamster Factor and Other Tales of Twelve Monkeys (documentary), Universal Studios Home Video, 1997.

Himself, Lost in La Mancha (documentary), IFC Films, 2002.

Himself, Hunter Goes to Hollywood (documentary short), Criterion Collection, 2003.

Interviewee, The 29th Telluride Film Festival Aug. 30-Sept. 2, 2002: Terry Gilliam Interviewed by Salman Rushdie (documentary), Alliance Atlantis Video, 2003.

Himself, Nos Zamis Le Hyens (documentary), 2005.

Himself, Getting Gilliam (documentary), Mpix, 2005.

Enfermes dehors, 2006.

Also appeared in The Do It Yourself Animation Film.

Film Director:

Storytime, 1968.

(With others) Cry of the Banshee, American International Pictures, 1970.

And Now for Something Completely Different (also known as Monty Python's "And Now for Something Completely Different"), Columbia, 1971.

The Miracle of Flight, 1974.

(With Terry Jones) Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Cinema 5, 1975.

Jabberwocky, Cinema 5, 1977.

Time Bandits, Avco-Embassy, 1981.

"The Crimson Permanent Assurance," Monty Python's "The Meaning of Life" (also known as The Meaning of Life), Universal, 1983.

Brazil, Universal, 1985.

The Adventures of Baron Munchausen (also known as Die Abenteuer des Baron von Munchhausen), Columbia, 1988.

The Fisher King, TriStar, 1991.

Twelve Monkeys, Universal, 1995.

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Universal, 1998.

The Brothers Grimm, Miramax, 2005.

Tideland, HanWay Films, 2005.

Film Animator:

Storytime, 1968.

(Title designer only) Cry of the Banshee, American International Pictures, 1970.

And Now for Something Completely Different (also known as Monty Python's "And Now for Something Completely Different"), Columbia, 1971.

The Miracle of Flight, 1974.

(Uncredited) Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Cinema 5, 1975.

Animator designer and (uncredited) animator, Monty Python's "Life of Brian" (also known as Life of Brian), Warner Bros., 1979.

Monty Python's "The Meaning of Life" (also known as The Meaning of Life), Universal, 1983.

Film Work; Other:

(Uncredited) Storyboard artist, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Cinema 5, 1975.

Production designer, Monty Python's "Life of Brian" (also known as Life of Brian), Warner Bros., 1979.

Producer, Time Bandits, Avco-Embassy, 1981.

(With others) Stage director, Monty Python Live at the Hollywood Bowl, Columbia, 1982.

Storyboard illustrator, Lost in La Mancha (documentary), IFC Films, 2002.

Executive producer, The Piano Tuner of Earthquakes, Artificial Earthquake, 2005.

Dress pattern maker, The Brothers Grimm, Miramax, 2005.

Stage Appearances:

Monty Python Live at the Hollywood Bowl, Hollywood Bowl, Los Angeles, CA, 1970.

Monty Python Live!, New York City, 1976.

RECORDINGS

Albums:

(With Monty Python) The Worst of Monty Python's Flying Circus, BBC Records, 1969.

Another Monty Python Record, Charisma, 1970.

Monty Python's Previous Record, 1972.

Monty Python's Matching Tie and Handkerchief, Charisma, 1973, Arista, 1975.

Monty Python Live at Drury Lane, Charisma, 1973.

The Album of the Sound Track of the Trailer of the Film "Monty Python and the Holy Grail," Arista, 1975.

Monty Python Live at City Center, Arista, 1976.

Monty Python's Instant Record Collection, 1977.

Monty Python's "Life of Brian," Warner Bros., 1979.

Monty Python's Contractual Obligation Album, Arista, 1980.

Monty Python's "The Meaning of Life," CBS Records, 1983.

Monty Python's The Final Ripoff, 1988.

Also recorded singles "Galaxy Song" and "Every Sperm Is Sacred."

Video Games:

Executive producer and performer, Monty Python's "Complete Waste of Time," 7th Level, 1994.

Performer (Patsy), director, and animator, Monty Python and the Quest for the Holy Grail, 1996.

Animator and performer, Monty Python's "The Meaning of Life," 1997.

Taped Readings:

(With others) The Pythons, 2004.

WRITINGS

Screenplays:

Pythons in Deutschland, Bavaria Atelier, 1971.

Miracles of Flight, 1974.

(With Charles Alverson) Jabberwocky, Cinema 5, 1977.

(With Michael Palin) Time Bandits, Avco-Embassy, 1981.

The Crimson Permanent Assurance, 1983.

(With Tom Stoppard) Brazil, Universal, 1985.

(With Charles McKeown) The Adventures of Baron Munchausen (also known as Die Abenteuer des Baron von Munchhausen), Columbia, 1988.

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Universal, 1998.

Education Tips No. 41: Choosing a Really Expensive School (short), 2003.

Tideland, HanWay Films, 2005.

Screenplays (with Monty Python):

And Now for Something Completely Different (also known as Monty Python's "And Now for Something Completely Different"), Columbia, 1971.

Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Cinema 5, 1975.

Monty Python's "Life of Brian" (also known as Life of Brian), Warner Bros., 1979.

Monty Python Live at the Hollywood Bowl, Columbia, 1982.

Monty Python's "The Meaning of Life" (also known as The Meaning of Life), Universal, 1983.

Television Specials:

Monty Python's "Fliegender Zirkus," BBC1, 1972.

Life of Python, Showtime, 1990.

Twenty Years of Monty Python (Parrot Sketch Not Included) (also known as Parrot Sketch Not Included: Twenty Years of Monty Python), Showtime, 1990.

It's … the Monty Python Story (documentary; also known as Life of Python), BBC and Arts and Entertainment, 1999.

Television Episodes:

Do Not Adjust Your Set, ITV, 1968.

We Have Ways of Making You Laugh, London, 1968.

Marty (also known as It's Marty), BBC, 1968.

Broaden Your Mind, BBC, 1968.

(With Monty Python) Monty Python's "Flying Circus" (also known as Gwen Dibley's "Flying Circus" and Monty Python), BBC, 1969–74, broadcast in the United States on PBS, 1974–82.

Television Composer; Episodic:

(With Monty Python) Monty Python's "Flying Circus" (also known as Gwen Dibley's "Flying Circus" and Monty Python), BBC, 1969–74, broadcast in the United States on PBS, 1974–82.

Books:

(Compiler with Harvey Kurtzman) Harvey Kurtzman's "Fun and Games," Fawcett, 1965.

(With Joel Siegel) The Cocktail People (cartoons), Pisani Press, 1966.

(With Monty Python) Monty Python's "Big Red Book," Methuen, 1972.

(As Jerry Gillian; with Peter Brookes; also illustrator) The Brand New Monty Python Bok, Methuen, 1973, later published as The Brand New Monty Python Papperbok, Methuen, 1974.

(Illustrator) Roger McGough, Sporting Relations (poems), Methuen, 1974.

Monty Python and the Holy Grail (Book), Methuen, 1977, also published as Monty Python's "Second Film: A First Draft," Methuen, 1977.

(With Alverson) Jabberwocky, Pan Books, 1977.

(With Lucinda Cowell) Animations of Mortality (cartoons), Methuen, 1978.

Monty Python's "Life of Brian (of Nazareth)" [and] Montypythonscrapbook, Grosset, 1979.

The Complete Works of Shakespeare and Monty Python (contains Monty Python's "Big Red Book" and The Brand New Monty Python Papperbok), Methuen, 1981.

(With Palin) Time Bandits, Hutchinson, 1981, also published as Time Bandits: The Movie Script, Doubleday (New York City), 1981.

Monty Python's "The Meaning of Life," Methuen, 1983.

(With McKeown) The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, 1989.

Gilliam on Gilliam, Faber and Faber, 1999.

(With others) The Pythons: An Autobiography, St. Martin's Press, 2003.

Video Games:

(Original screenplay) Monty Python and the Quest for the Holy Grail, 1996.

Also contributed to periodicals, including Film Comment, Cinema, Stills, Sequences, and Starburst.

ADAPTATIONS

The screenplay Monty Python and the Holy Grail served as the basis for the stage musical Spamalot, Shubert Theatre, New York City, 2005.

OTHER SOURCES

Books:

Authors and Artists for Young Adults, Volume 59, Thomson Gale, 2005.

International Dictionary of Films and Filmmakers, Volume 2: Directors, 4th ed., St. James Press, 2000.

Periodicals:

American Film, March, 1989, pp. 34-42.

Movieline, June, 1998, p. 76.

People, March 17, 1986, pp. 141-43.

Time, August 8, 2005, p. 64.

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Gilliam, Terry

GILLIAM, Terry



Nationality: American. Born: Terry Vance Gilliam in Minneapolis, Minnesota, 22 November 1940. Education: Studied political science at Occidental College, Los Angeles. Family: Married make-up artist Margaret Weston; three children: Amy Rainbow, Holly du Bois, Harry Thunder. Career: Associate editor, HELP magazine, and freelance illustrator, New York, from 1962; moved to London, 1967; illustrator and animator for Marty, We Have Ways of Making You Laugh, and Do Not Adjust Your Set, for TV, 1968; member of Monty Python's Flying Circus, from 1969; directed first solo project, Jabberwocky, 1977. Awards: British Academy of Film and Television Arts Special Award for Graphics, for Monty Python's Flying Circus, 1969; Montreux Festival Silver Award, for Monty Python's Flying Circus, 1971; Best Director and Best Screenplay, Los Angeles Film Critics Association, for Brazil, 1985; Michael Balcon Award, Outstanding British Contribution to Cinema, 1987; Venice Film Festival Silver Lion, for The Fisher King, 1991. Address: The Old Hall, South Grove, Highgate, London N6 6BP England.


Films as Director:

1975

Monty Python and the Holy Grail (co-d, + co-sc, anim, ro)

1977

Jabberwocky (+ co-sc, ro)

1981

Time Bandits (+ co-sc, pr, ro—uncredited)

1985

Brazil (+ co-sc)

1989

The Adventures of Baron Munchausen (+ co-sc)

1991

The Fisher King

1995

Twelve Monkeys

1998

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (+ co-sc)

2001

The Man Who Killed Don Quixote (+ co-sc)

2002

Good Omens (+ co-sc)



Other Films:

1971

And Now for Something Completely Different (co-sc, anim, ro)

1979

Monty Python's Life of Brian (Jones) (co-sc, design, anim, ro)




1982

Monty Python Live at the Hollywood Bowl (co-sc, ro)

1983

Monty Python's The Meaning of Life (Jones) (co-sc, anim, d some sequences, ro)

1984

The Secret Policeman's Private Parts (Graef, Temple) (ro)

1985

Spies like Us (Landis) (ro)

Publications


By GILLIAM: books—

Harvey Kurtzman's Fun and Games, with Harvey Kurtzman, New York, 1965.

Monty Python's Big Red Book, London, 1972.

The Brand New Monty Python Book, London, 1973.

Sporting Relations, with Roger McGough, London, 1974.

Monty Python and the Holy Grail, London, 1977.

Jabberwocky, London, 1977.

Animations of Mortality, London, 1978.

Monty Python's Life of Brian (of Nazareth), London, 1979.

The Complete Works of Shakespeare and Monty Python, London, 1981.

Time Bandits, with Michael Palin, London, 1981.

Monty Python's The Meaning of Life, London, 1983.

The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, with Charles McKeown, New York and London, 1989.


By GILLIAM: articles—

Interview in Inter/View (New York), vol. 7, no. 6, 1975.

Interview in Film Comment (New York), November/December 1981.

Interview with D. Rabourdin, in Cinéma (Paris), February 1985.

Interview with Nick Roddick, in Stills (London), February 1985.

Interview with B. Howell, in Films and Filming (London), March 1985.

Interview with M. Girard and A. Caron, in Séquences (Montreal), April 1986.

Interview with D. Morgan, in Sight and Sound (London), Autumn 1988.

Interview in Starburst (London), April 1989.

Interview with P. Kremski, in Filmbulletin (Winterthur, Switzerland), no. 5/6, 1991.

"Terry Gilliam's Guilty Pleasures," in Film Comment (New York), September/October 1991.

"Empire OneOnOne," interview with Bob McCabe, in Empire (London), December 1998.


On GILLIAM: books—

Perry, George, Life of Python, London, 1983.

Yule, Andrew, Losing the Light: Terry Gilliam and the MunchausenSaga, New York, 1991.


On GILLIAM: articles—

"Brazil Section" of Revue du Cinéma (Paris), March 1985.

"Gilliam Section" of Positif (Paris), March 1985.

Mathews, J., "Earth to Gilliam," in American Film (Los Angeles), March 1989.

Turan, Kenneth, "The Awful Adventures of Terry Gilliam," in Gentleman's Quarterly, March 1989.

"Gilliam Issue" of Cinefex (Riverside, California), May 1989.

Ellison, Harlan, "Harlan Ellison's Watching," in Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, May 1989.

Van Gelder, L., "At the Movies," in New York Times, 1 June 1990.

Ciment, Michel, article in Positif (Paris), November 1990.

Osborn, B., "The Fisher King," in American Premiere (Beverly Hills), no. 5, 1991.

Stefancic, M., Jr., "Kraljevi ribic," in Ekran (Ljubljana, Yugoslavia), no. 8, 1991.

Panek, Richard, "A Writer's Dream," in Premiere, May 1991.

Drucker, E., "The Fisher King," in American Film (Los Angeles), September/October 1991.

Zagari, P., "Gil intoccabili," in Cinema Nuovo (Rome), November/December 1991.

Mandolini, C., "Terry Gilliam ou le triomphe de l'imaginaire postmoderne," in Sequences (Montreal), January 1992.

"Filmografie," in Segnocinema (Vicenza, Italy), January/February 1992.

Smith, G., "War Games," in The New Yorker, 25 May 1998.

Frankel, Martha, "Terry Does Vegas," in Movieline (Los Angeles), June 1998.


* * *

"A trilogy about the ages of Man and the subordination of magic to realism." So Terry Gilliam described the trio of films which stretched from Time Bandits through Brazil to The Adventures of Baron Munchausen. Gilliam has worked resolutely in the space between the two elements of magic and reality in all his work, hardly surprising in a man who first became widely known as the provider of brilliant, surreal animation sequences for the Monty Python comedy team in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

Gilliam is very much a champion of imagination in his films in both visual and narrative terms. Despite his often surreal vision, however, the products of the imagination do not necessarily have to be fantastic. Love, for example—often a triumph of emotional imagination over reality—has been an important arena in Gilliam's battle between magic and realism—comical and childlike in Jabberwocky, bittersweet and adult in Brazil. For Gilliam, magic counterbalances what he perceives as the sterility of the rational, a view that is manifested in extreme form in the Orwellian nightmare world of Brazil. If love is perhaps the emotional expression of Gilliam's magic, then visual and narrative fantasy is the conceptual. Elements of the fantastic have been ever-present in Gilliam's work from his Monty Python days to the spectacles of Baron Munchausen (an island transformed into a giant fish, a ship gliding through a desert strewn with statues). His feature films often seem, in fact, semi-conscious attempts to recreate the world of his early animations in live-action.

Fellow director Alex Cox has described Gilliam as a "highly skilled visualist," a judgement which cannot really be disputed. (It is worth noting that Gilliam's cinematographer for the dazzling Brazil was Roger Pratt, later to give a similar gloss to the mega-buck Batman.) Gilliam is often criticized, however, for opting for visual pyrotechnics at the expense of narrative solidity. The issue is clouded by Gilliam's constant return to the fairy tale/fantasy format, where the requirement of narrative sense or continuity is arguably less strict anyway. Arthurian legend in Monty Python and The Holy Grail (co-directed with Terry Jones), Lewis Carroll's nonsense world in Jabberwocky, time travel in Time Bandits, an insane world in Brazil, eighteenth-century tall tales in Baron Munchausen, and a psychedelically garish Las Vegas in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas all exemplify Gilliam's fascination with fantasy. Is Gilliam merely an escapist with a remarkably fertile imagination? In opting to undermine the bedrock of dull rationality does he fail to offer anything in return? It is, after all, perfectly possible to make films which are funny and surreal and which have bite—satire as opposed to escapism.

Gilliam's defense against such charges is Brazil. Without Brazil, Gilliam's output smacks a little too much of clownish entertainment. But with Brazil it is clear that the clown can also wear a sadder, darker face. For here, Gilliam opts to take on board the challenging burdens of rationality rather than trying merely to escape them. His vision has weight. If he escapes here it is through facing the deadening products of rationality and triumphing over them through a combination of acid ridicule and emotional willpower. The sights which influenced his perception of the story included a Los Angeles riot, and he has half-cryptically, half-menacingly described the setting of the film as "somewhere on the Los Angeles/Belfast border."

Brazil revealed depths to Gilliam's talent which had only been glimpsed in his blackly comic Monty Python animations rather than his earlier features. Baron Munchausen, disappointingly, proved a regression back to escapism rather than a development of the inspired mood of Brazil (though the pressures of an ever-escalating budget cannot have helped). Perhaps the battle he had to fight with Warner Bros. over Brazil—first over a re-edit (read massacre), then over even releasing the film—had warned him against attempting anything with real edge.

The Fisher King, Gilliam's follow-up to The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, ranks with Brazil as among his most thoughtful works. The film, a dazzlingly visual allegory that offers a profound commentary on ethics in contemporary society, ponders a tarnished soul's chance to reclaim a moral lifestyle. Its scenario (authored by Richard LaGravenese, rather than Gilliam) spotlights the plight of Jack Lucas (Jeff Bridges), a cold-hearted, self-centered radio talk show host who undergoes a personality crisis when one of his listeners, whom he has just crudely dismissed, promptly commits mass murder. Lucas is delivered from the brink of despair by a character who might have been concocted during Gilliam's early Monty Python days, an odd-ball street person (Robin Williams) who is consumed with finding the Holy Grail and hooking up with an evasive young woman (Amanda Plummer).

In 1995 Gilliam released Twelve Monkeys, a film set in post-apocalyptic America. Reminiscent of Brazil in its dark vision of the future, Twelve Monkeys concerns a criminal of the future (played by Bruce Willis) who is sent back in time to late twentieth-century America to gather information about a devastating plague that pushed survivors into a bleak underground existence. The film was more accessible to mainstream audiences than some of Gilliam's earlier films (in part because of its big-name cast, which also included Madeleine Stowe and Brad Pitt), but still featured Gilliam's signature cynicism about society's dark underbelly.

The filmmaker's follow-up, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, was a complete misfire, and easily is his least-successful feature. It is an ill-advised visualization of Hunter S. Thompson's 1971 book, in which the writer's alter ego, Raoul Duke (Johnny Depp), and his lawyer, Dr. Gonzo (Benicio Del Toro), do Las Vegas while zonked to the gills. Thompson's book may accurately capture a time and place; the film, though crammed with Gilliam's patented visual wizardry, seems sorely dated and totally unnecessary.

Gilliam's films are brilliantly imaginative, though sometimes maddeningly uneven. He remains an outstanding talent who, unfortunately, works too infrequently on screen—and one wonders if he ever will approach the depth of vision he so successfully mined in Brazil.

—Norman Miller, updated by Rob Edelman

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"Gilliam, Terry." International Dictionary of Films and Filmmakers. . Encyclopedia.com. 22 Nov. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Gilliam, Terry." International Dictionary of Films and Filmmakers. . Encyclopedia.com. (November 22, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/movies/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/gilliam-terry

"Gilliam, Terry." International Dictionary of Films and Filmmakers. . Retrieved November 22, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/movies/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/gilliam-terry