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One of Terry Gilliam's desires for filming "The Man Who Killed Don Quixote" was to film it in a picturesque part of Spain. For this he decided he would NOT film it in La Mancha, because it wasn't picturesque enough.

Fair enough, if he was looking for stunning views, but he missed the point. Cervantes had Don Quixote living in La Mancha precisely because it's the most boring part of Spain. It's the Kansas of Spain. It's nearly flat and there's nothing but grass and farms. Everything about it is "bleh." There's Manchego Cheese and sheep and wheat and goats and that's about it. All the big cities are on the edge. In the center is sheep and windmills, and towns, unremarkable except for how they showed up in Cervantes' work. What's the national anthem of La Mancha? "Baaaaaa."

It's the kind of place where the only adventure comes from stories, so Quixote winds up trying to be an unrealistic kind of wandering hero because he let himself be misled by novels about knights. There is nothing in La Mancha that can satisfy the desire for romantic adventure, such that an idle rich man would be distracted from his knightly dreams by reality. No mountains nor plunging valleys, no armies assaulting the gates of it cities, no peasant rebellions, no great political intrigues. There's windmills! Fixed to the earth, because the wind only blows from one direction. There's castles! Long out of use by the years of Cervantes, for the battles there had been over for centuries, and would not return for the next few centuries.

Nor is there anything to satisfy the picturesque desires of a movie director, which led Gilliam to pick a pretty region of Navarre where his filming was ruined by tHE VERY LOUD SOUND OF MILITARY AIRCRAFT TAKING OFF. Gilliam's decision was one of many specific and inflexible demands that delayed the filming. He kept casting men in their seventies for the lead part, forgetting that Quixote was supposed to be fifty, so his leads were always too frail for the action he wanted, and he would have to get a new lead, and he had this demand and that desire and on and on and...

The man treated the tale of Don Quixote like Quixote treated his knightly novels, misreading the story and putting himself in more trouble than he would have been if he had allowed himself to be flexible. He ran to Navarre because he was treating La Mancha like Don Quixote treated La Mancha. Both men ran out of the same landscape, and into similar problems, because they were more interested in chasing their dreams than allowing reality to intrude upon them.


Gilliam's quest for drama turned out to be...Quixotic. Ha ha ha. Ha ha. Ha. Ha.