I watched Lost in La Mancha the other night, a documentary about Terry Gilliam's attempt to bring his version of Don Quixote's story to the big screen - in what was ultimately a very appropriately titled "The Man who killed Don Quixote." Gilliam does not endear himself to everyone, that's for sure, but it was sad to see something that held so much promise get gradually dismantled into a few carton boxes and insurance claims. I also learnt that the first assistant director is actually a project manager.
The South African movie distribution system is continuing to uphold the lofty standards we expect of it (sarcasm intended). There are so many instances of good movies that don't reach our screens apart from showing at the odd festivals, if at all (e.g. Oldboy and 3-Iron), or disappear, like Serenity which was pulled after big banners and posters trumpeted its release. I actually don't know whether to blame the distribution system for its lack of imagination or the viewing public for theirs. I also don't know whether seperating "art" movies from "blockbusters" is helpful - it is certainly not contributing to the cause of exposing people to a wider range of film making styles and more than three storylines. (Of course, showing them together won't mean they get watched.)
Anyway, the reason I am angry once again is it seems we will be missing out on Everything is Illuminated, a movie based on the book by Jonathan Safran Foer, directed by Liev Schreiber and featuring Gogol Bordello's own Eugene Hutz as the character who apparently steals the show from Elijah Wood's characterisation of Foer (read a Twitch review here). The soundtrack also looks like it should be excellent. The web sites of Ster Kinekor and Nu Metro are so unintuitive that I have given up trying to find out whether it will eventually be released. And speaking of Terry Gilliam, I wonder if we'll see Tideland around here. Oh, and what about Emir Kusturica's Life is a Miracle?
The best solution to these problems, apart from traveling to Xi'an and getting Cerebus to chaperone you around the local DVD shops and translate requests, is to resort to good old Buyoyo, in my view one of the web's best-kept secrets. The only down-side is that our Customs people tend to have trouble differentiating between US and Hong Kong dollars and have twice taxed me on the wrong currency and exchange rate when my package enters the country, which cannot be resolved at the post office. But that's another story. All I wanted to say really is that I enjoyed Lost in La Mancha... and look where that got me.