TERRY GILLIAM Biography - Theater, Opera and Movie personalities


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Terence Vance Gilliam (born November 22 1940 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA) is a film director. Terry Gilliam started off as an American animator and strip cartoonist; one of his early photographic strips featured John Cleese.


Moving to England, he animated features for Do Not Adjust Your Set and later joined Monty Python’s Flying Circus, of which he was the only American member. He was the principal artist-animator of the surreal cartoons with which Monty Python’s television series was frequently interspersed. He also appeared in several sketches and played parts in the films.


Gilliam’s distinctive animation style utilized antique photographs - mostly from the Victorian era - and featured portions of the photos moving. The style was copied decades later in the children’s television cartoon Angela Anaconda and in a series of television commercials for Guiness Beer.


Terry Gilliam has gone on to become a film director. Gilliam’s Brazil is known among cineastes as a drastic example of things that can go wrong when a director does not have final cut and the studio steps in to “take control” of a situation it sees as spiralling out of control; Gilliam’s battles with the studio are notorious and well documented.


In many projects, he tries to show his sharp opposition towards the bureaucracy and administrative regimes. Also tries to make the difference between higher and lower layers of society visible with a disturbing and ironic style. His movies usually feature a fight or struggle against a great power which may be an emotional situation, a human-made idol, or even the person him/her-self. Mostly, the struggle does not end happily. There are usually a paranoid and dark atmosphere and unusual characters who once were normal members of the society. In addition to dark and disturbing touches, his scripts also feature a dark sense of humour, a heritage of the Monty Python team.


His films have a distinctive look, often recognizable from just a short clip. There is often a baroqueness about the movies, with, for instance, computer monitors in one film equipped with magnifying lenses, and in another a red knight covered with flapping bits of cloth. He also is given to incongruous juxtapositions, say of beauty and ugliness, or antique and modern.


Gilliam is a graduate of Occidental College in Los Angeles, where he was a member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon .


Films directed:


Monty Python and the Holy Grail (co-directed with Terry Jones) (1975)
Jabberwocky (1977)
Time Bandits (1981)
The Crimson Permanent Assurance (1983) - A short supporting feature that accompanied Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life
Brazil (1985)
The Adventures of Baron Munchhausen (1988)
The Fisher King (1991)
Twelve Monkeys (1995)
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998)
The Brothers Grimm (2005)
Tideland (2006)


He also has several projects in various states of development, including an adaptation of Good Omens.


Gilliam’s unsuccessful efforts to film The Man Who Killed Don Quixote , based on Miguel Cervantes’ Don Quixote, were the subject of the documentary Lost In La Mancha.