Cannes Film Festival

Terry Gilliam's Quixote film gets green light after 20-year battle

Chinese actress Fan Bingbing on the red carpet at the opening of the Cannes Film Festival.
Chinese actress Fan Bingbing on the red carpet at the opening of the Cannes Film Festival. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

CANNES • A Paris court ruled on Wednesday that film-maker Terry Gilliam can show The Man Who Killed Don Quixote at the Cannes Film Festival, removing the final hurdle in his 20-year battle to get the story to the screen.

Fans welcomed the news as a sign that "the curse of Don Quixote" was finally broken, after Gilliam had to abandon an initial version starring Johnny Depp in 2000 due to calamities, including flooding, ill health and money problems.

Finally remade with Jonathan Pryce and Adam Driver, the film was selected to close Cannes on May 19, but a last-minute legal challenge from former producer Paulo Branco meant that remained uncertain until Wednesday's ruling.

The Guardian newspaper reported earlier on Wednesday that Gilliam, 77, had suffered a minor stroke at the weekend, but he tweeted: "After days of rest and prayers to the gods, I am restored and well again."

"We are legally victorious. We will go to the ball, dressed as the closing film at Festival de Cannes," added the director, whose films include Brazil and Time Bandits.

His lawyer said the court did not address the question of who owned the rights, but had ordered that the screening include a statement that Branco claimed ownership.

At least one fan was sceptical that the "curse" had been broken.

"Given the history, perhaps best save the celebrations until after it screens. The last minute plot twists are unbearable," tweeted @GiantGnomes.

Iranian film-maker Asghar Farhadi's Everybody Knows opened the festival on Tuesday, with stars such as Chinese actress Fan Bingbing walking the red carpet.

On Wednesday, Leto, a biopic of Soviet-Korean rock legend Viktor Tsoi, got a standing ovation before it was even shown.

The competition film is by acclaimed Russian theatre director Kirill Serebrennikov, who is under house arrest in Moscow.

In a case that has raised concerns about censorship, he is accused of embezzling US$2.3 million (S$3 million) in Russian government funds.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 11, 2018, with the headline 'Green light for Terry Gilliam's Quixote film '. Print Edition | Subscribe