Wednesday, January 6, 2016

"Gilliamesque: A Pre-Posthumous Memoir" by Terry Gilliam

I wonder if cartoonist/writer/actor/director/producerTerry Gilliam regards himself as boring. Gilliamesque, his memoir, seems awfully preoccupied with name-dropping encounters and collaborations with other people - so much so that he only has enough time to discuss his work almost as a collection of asides and afterthoughts; recollections of  his films scarcely take up a 1/3 of the book! I feel we're left holding a product - a coffetable book - very attractive, with bits and bobs of acute insights planted here and there to highlight and appreciate, but not something meant to be taken seriously. "I'm not dead; a more-comprehensive (i.e. "stuffy") look at my life and career isn't really my bag, ok?" - that's the message I got, so just enjoy it for what it is - a Gilliamesque book about Terrry Gilliam!

He's kind of a hoarder - he's saved lots of stuff going far back, even having his ancient battered edition of that Preston Blair how-to book on animation that many cartoonists took swipes from ( seriously, though - THAT book is good stuff; I still own a 1990s edition of it ), or yellowed sketch pad scribbles of aliens shaped from vacuum cleaners. I DO find him to be the most interesting of the Monty Python troupe, largely because he's continued to do stuff, whereas the others cashed in and have coasted off the past to varying degrees. I look forward to seeing his Don Quixote adaptation in whatever form it finally takes ( as of right now, it's going to star John Hurt and premiere on Amazon Prime ) and the likely Criterion Collection DVD/Blu-Ray editon of that ( Almost all his movies end up released with Criterion editons - it's their afterlife).

Naturally, I highlighted the bits I liked in the gallery below...the book reminds me a lot of the two memoirs animation director Chuck Jones wrote/illustrated in the late-80s and late-90s: Chuck Amuck and Chuck Reducks - bon-bon-size acute insights packaged in an attractive way for the coffetable..I have both of those as well, but while I keep a chessboard hogging the space on my coffeetable, they look nice on my bookshelf. Gilliamesque looks nice there, too.

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