The imaginarium of Terry Gilliam

Morton Arboretum Pine - Polapan

Andrew O’Hehir of interviews Terry Gilliam about his new film, The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus:

I love the way you play with the idea of storytelling in this movie. When he’s the head of a monastery in Tibet, Doctor Parnassus claims he and his monks are keeping the universe going by telling their story. I felt like, on one hand that’s what you think — the universe keeps going on stories. And on the other hand you’re making fun of him, as Tom Waits’ devil does so well.

I suspect Parnassus may be a liar. Maybe everything he says in there is a lie. It’s about ego: He and his monks are telling the eternal story that keeps the universe going. It’s about him! And then he discovers, “Oh, other stories are just as important as my story.”

That’s all we live on, is story. What is 24-hour news? Most of it is story. It’s invented. You have to fill 24 hours of shit, and there just isn’t that much news. So you create stories, and they can be anything. That’s what I’m trying to say: We live on that. It gives form to our lives. It gives form to everything, whether it’s a good story or a bad story. People talk about journalism as factual. I think it’s fictional, or at least half of it is.

I think Parnassus is a terrible egotist and maybe a liar. When we were making the film, I always had this feeling about that opening shot, when the wagon comes into town and there’s this bum asleep in the foreground: It’s all his dream. He is Parnassus. Is he really all the things he claims to be? Is he lying to his daughter and everybody else, or does he really have these abilities and is a thousand years old? It’s a dodgy game to be playing with an audience who wants to know the truth. I’m not interested in the truth. Truth is a very amorphous thing, and you have to make your own truth out of your intelligence, your observations.

[Click to continue reading Andrew O’Hehir –]

I look forward to seeing the film, just hope it is more watchable than Tideland1

  1. or Dark Knight, for that matter []

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