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The Adventures of Baron Munchausen

Terry Gilliam
UK, FRG 1988 / 126’

When one of cinema’s bravest visionaries began work on the fantastical stories of Baron Munchausen, the effects could be nothing else than spectacular. Adapting the book, first published by Rudolf Erich Raspe in 1785, gave Gilliam all the reason he needed to bring some of his most marvellous and outlandish visions to the screen. Along with the Baron, we travel from a gilded Turkish harem to a Méliès moon, passing through the court of Venus and Vulcan before being swallowed by a monstrous sea creature. A medley of characters, amazing landscapes, costumes and stage sets created by brilliant Cinecittà Studios artists all make the film seem like something between fantasy and dream, between an altered reality and fanciful theatre. The world of Baron Munchausen is maintained in an unsteady balance between the excessive emotions of baroque and the thoughtful restraint of the Enlightenment – ideally symbolised by the King of the Moon whose wise head is separated from his frivolous body (Kant would have approved). There is no clear beginning or ending and successive stories do not necessarily belong together – the best the audince can do is to follow the example of little Sally: trust the Baron, hold on tight, enter a world of fantasy and delight in the elaborate scenes masterfully filmed by cinematographer Giuseppe Rotunno.


Jagoda Murczyńska

awards

BAFTA Film Award 1990 – Best Costume Design, Best Make Up Artist, Best Production Design; Italian National Syndicate of Film Journalists 1990 – Silver Ribbon for Best Cinematography, Best Costume Design, Best Production Design

Terry Gilliam

Born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on November 22, 1940, Gilliam was briefly employed by Mad Magazine as a writer/illustrator before he emigrated to England in 1967. Soon after he arrived in the U.K., he began working on Do Not Adjust Your Set, a popular children's TV show, developing his eccentric animated cartoons, which put into motion a hodgepodge of images, including photographs, cutouts from magazines, and famous works of art. In 1969, Gilliam was asked to join the absurdist comedy troupe Monty Python. He began offering his iconoclastic vision to moviegoers with the comedy troupe's first original film, Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975), which he co-directed with fellow Python Terry Jones. Gilliam had his first outing as a solo director with Jabberwocky (1976).

Gilliam's status as auteur has been assured by his strikingly idiosyncratic style, recurrent themes, and insistence on control of all stages of filmmaking. An open hostility towards the studio system has complemented his criticism of mainstream American culture, pragmatically sealed by a thirty-five-year residence in Britain. While he has had to turn to his native country to finance his most recent films, he has continued to denounce Hollywood as an accessory to the 'lie' lived by American society; accordingly, he has declined the direction of many a US box-office hit.

Filmography

1975 Monty Python i Święty Graal / Monty Python and the Holy Grail (co-dir.)

1977 Jabberwocky

1981 Bandyci czasu / Time Bandits

1983 Karmazynowe Ubezpieczenie Ostateczne / The Crimson Permanent Assurance (short)

1985 Brazil

1988 Przygody Barona Munchhausena / The Adventures of Baron Munchhausen

1991 Fisher King / The Fisher King

1995 12 małp / Twelve Monkeys

1998 Las Vegas Parano / Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

2005 Nieustraszeni bracia Grimm / The Brothers Grimm

2005 Kraina traw / Tideland

2009 Parnassus – człowiek, który oszukał diabła / The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus

2010 The Legend of Hallowdega (short)

2011 Świetna rodzina / The Wholly Family (short)

 

selected animations

1968 Czas na opowieść / Storytime (short)

1968 Animations for We Have Ways of Making You Laugh

1968 Animations for The Marty Feldman Comedy Machine

1968 Świąteczna kartka / The Christmas Card (animation for Do Not Adjust Your Stockings)

1968 Animations for Do Not Adjust Your Set

1969–1974 Animations for TV series Latający Cyrk Monty Pythona / Monty Python’s Flying Circus

1971 Sen o lataniu / The Miracle of Flight (short)

1971 Animations for A teraz coś z zupełnie innej beczki / And Now for Something Completely Different

1979 Animations for Żywot Briana / Monty Python’s Life of Brian

1982 Animations for Monty Python na żywo w Hollywood Bowl / Monty Python Live at Hollywood Bowl

1983 Animations for Sens życia według Monty Pythona / Monty Pythons The Meaning of Life

2006 Animations for Latający Cyrk Monty Pythona – Perełki Monty Pythona: Terry Gilliam / Monty Python’s Flying Circus – Terry Gilliam’s Personal Best

Prepared by: Jagoda Murczyńska

Cast & Crew

director Terry Gilliam
screenplay Terry Gilliam, Charles McKeown, based on a novel by Rudolph Erich Raspe and Gottfried August Bürger
cinematography Giuseppe Rotunno
editing Peter Hollywood
music Eric Idle, Michael Kamen
cast John Neville, Sarah Polley, Oliver Reed, Uma Thurman, Bill Paterson, Eric Idle, Jonathan Pryce, Peter Jeffrey, Charles McKeown, Valentina Cortese, Jack Purvis, Terry Gilliam, Sting
producer Thomas Schühly, Ray Cooper
production Allied Filmmakers, Columbia Pictures Corporation, Laura Film, Prominent Features
sales Park Circus
language English
colouration colour