Terry GilliamFantasy-Inclined Director, Former Python By Eric Schneider
One of cinema's great uncompromising fabulists.
The only member of Monty Python not born in England, Terry Gilliam carried his perpetual-outsider perspective over to an intriguing directorial career, creating films that are fascinating, sometimes frustrating, and always unusual. Working primarily as an animator in the revered comedy troupe, Gilliam was instrumental in developing Python's surreal visual style, while occasionally wandering onscreen to play a small role. Although Gilliam co-helmed 1975's Monty Python and the Holy Grail with Terry Jones, his reputation as a director of note didn't begin in earnest until '81's Time Bandits, a moody comedy/fantasy fusion. Gilliam went even darker for his acclaimed follow-up, Brazil, a pitch-black comedy set in a bureaucratic/industrial nightmare. Somewhat fittingly, Gilliam clashed with executives over various elements of the movie, and many of his subsequent films would face production woes as well. The '90s found Gilliam working with slightly more conventional narratives and featuring stars in lead roles, most notably in The Fisher King and Twelve Monkeys. Always drawn towards misfits and grotesque imagery, Gilliam combined them to polarizing effect in his hallucinatory '98 adaptation of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Later films, even The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus with the late Heath Ledger, didn't win Gilliam many new fans, but, in 2010, he surprised both the cinematic and indie-rock worlds by directing a live webcast by Arcade Fire, a project that he welcomed as a reinvigorating change of pace.
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