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The Terry Gilliam Story of Creation

Terry Gilliam of Monty Python, Terry Gilliam, director of Brazil, Time BanditsThe Fisher King and Twelve Monkeys, Terry Gilliam of the manic laugh, if you've ever heard the wacky man, tells a great story about himself, this at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) a few years back.

He's a hugely successful director and finally at a stage of his career where he can afford certain luxuries. In this case, buying a home in a rural part of Italy, a pastoral part. It has always been a dream. This rustic cottage-like place, I imagine, where Gilliam can get away, get away from the hustle and bustle, the stress and shit of New York [London], of the big dirty city, a place instead where he can go and truly be the artist he wants to be, have the space and the time and the quiet to think things through, to dream things through - his Imaginarium, as the Rheostatics once put it (before Gilliam made a movie using the term).

And so he does. With his family, Gilliam goes off to summer in this peaceful, rustic place. Goes to think up new and wonderful ideas. At least, that's the plan. When, however, he actually arrives there, when he lives there, nothing of the sort happens. He doesn't think up a single new idea. Isn't remotely creative. In fact, all he does there, out on in rural Italy, is mundane choirs around the house. Spends his time fixing things that need fixing, puttering around.

It turns out, Gilliam explains, that he needs to be back in New York [London], in the shit, with all the stress and harshness and the bad weather that New York [London] will throw at you. Needs all that to create.

The Italian getaway, that dreamed of mountain top where sonnets were to be written and fables chanted - turns out it doesn't exist.