Twelve Monkeys: Terry Gilliam Retrospective at the American Museum of the Moving Image, NYC

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Terry Gilliam, whose romantic sci-fi thriller Twelve Monkeys (1995) opens nationwide in January, will be the subject of a comprehensive retrospective at the American Museum of the Moving Image from January 6 through 21, 1996. Fairy Tales for Adults: A Terry Gilliam Retrospective will include a personal appearance by Gilliam, screenings of all six of his feature films as director, and a selection of Monty Python movies and early animation. The retrospective will also include a look at two CD-ROM projects featuring Gilliam 5 animation: the acclaimed Monty Python's Complete Waste of Time, and a new work, Animations of Mortality (forthcoming fall 1996).

Gilliam himself will kick off the series on January 6, introducing a screening of Twelve Monkeys. After the film he will participate in a Close-Up discussion of his career and present a selection of scenes from his films. Among other series highlights will be a rare screening of the original 142-minute version of Brazil (1985), which was cut by eleven minutes after a bitter dispute between Gilliam and Universal Pictures. (Ironically, Universal is financing and distributing Twelve Monkeys, starring Bruce Willis, Madeleine Stowe, and Brad Pitt, exactly ten years after the release of Brazil.) The retrospective will also include a Director's Choice screening of one of Gilliam's favorite movies, One-Eyed Jacks (1961), Marion Brando's eccentric Western.

"Terry Gilliam is one of cinema's premier fantasists," says David Schwartz, series curator and the Museum's head of film and video programs. "Working as a director, writer, performer, animator, and production designer, he has created films notable for their stunning visuals and a deeply felt vision of a world where the forces of magic and nature are in constant battle with man's laughable attempts to impose order."

A former magazine illustrator and comic book artist, Gilliam rose to fame as a cartoonist and occasional performer for Monty Python's Flying Circus. His animated collages for the legendary British television show were more than whimsical transitions between the show's nonsensical skits. They were also the products of an imagination capable of constant surprise. Gilliam was co-screenwriter, actor, and animator for the first Monty Python movie, And Now for Something Completely Different (1972). He co-directed Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975) and, two years later, made his solo debut as a director with the medieval fantasy, Jabberwocky (1977).

"I wanted to make filth beautiful," said Gilliam of his visual approach in this dark and ribald view of the Middle Ages. The film revealed Gilliam's ambition and willingness to take risks, with his inspiration seeming to come from equal parts Mad magazine and Hieronymus Bosch.

After designing and creating animation for Lift of Brian (1979), Monty Python's irreverent religious spoof, Gilliam directed the wildly inventive time travel fantasy Time Bandits (1981), which was a surprise box-office hit around the world. His next movie, after contributing to Monty Python's The Meaning of Lift (1983), was Brazil (1985), a lavish, harrowing comic vision of the near-future, which he described as "Walter Mitty meets Franz Kafka." The film was only released after bitter fights between the director and the studio, which found the movie to be totally uncommercial. Brazil won Best Picture, Director, and Screenplay honors from the Los Angeles Film Critics Association.

With his next movie, The Adventures of Baron Munchausen (1989), Gilliam completed an epic trilogy (along with Time Bandits and Brazil) about time travel, fantasy versus reality, and growing old. Gilliam's lavish treatment of the classic 18th-century children's tale was his most astonishing movie to date.

The Fisher King (1991) brought Gilliam's fanciful vision to modern-day New York City in a fantasy romance starring Jeff Bridges as a mean-spirited radio star who finds redemption thanks to a derelict played by Robin Williams who is convinced that he's a medieval knight.

Like The Fisher King, Gilliam's new movie, Twelve Monkeys, is a fairy tale for adults, combining a sense of magic and fantasy with an intimate romance.

IN THE R!KLIS THEATER all films are screened in 35mm unless otherwise noted.

Twelve Monkeys Universal, 1995, 130 mins. With Bruce Willis, Madeleine Stowe, Brad Pitt. Written by David Peoples, Janet Peoples. Produced by Charles Roven.
Gilliam's new movie is a romantic thriller about a reluctant and psychologically tormented traveler who believes he comes from the nearly uninhabitable Earth of 2035 and is sent back to 1996 to unravel a haunting image from his childhood and help reclaim the future.

Gilliam will discuss his remarkable career, present a selection of scenes from his films, and provide a look at two CD-ROM projects (including a preview of the upcoming Animations of Mortality).

Close-Up events require a special ticket -- $15 per day ($10 for Museum members). For purchase information see below.

Brazil Universal, 1985, 142 mins. Written by Terry Gilliam, Tom Stoppard, Charles McKeown. With Jonathan Pryce, Robert De Niro, Bob Hoskins, Michael Palin.
Inept bureaucracy and faulty plumbing are at the heart of Gilliam's harrowing comic vision of the near-future, which he described as "Walter Mitty meets Franz Kafka." This print contains eleven minutes cut from the film's initial release.

TV viewers first discovered Gilliam's animation on Monty Python's Flying Circus and other British programs. This screening includes such classic shorts as The Miracle of Flight, Beware of Elephants, and Christmas Card. Running time: approximately 40 mins.

3:00 p.m. Monty Python and the Holy Grail 1975, 89 mins. Directed by Terry Gilliam, Terry Jones. With Monty Python (Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, Michael Palin).
A quest for the grail loosely holds together a series of classic Python sketches and whimsical asides in this medieval romp co-directed by Gilliam (and featuring his animation).

5:00 p.m. Life of Brian Warner Bros./Orion, 1979, 93 mins. Directed by Terry Jones. Written by and starring Monty Python. Design and animation by Terry Gilliam.
This brazenly irreverent religious spoof about a reluctant messiah stirred up controversy with such scenes as the production number "Bright Side of Lift, " sung by a chorus of crucified men.

2:00 p.m. Jabberwocky 1977, 100 mins'. With Michael Palin. Directed by Terry Gilliam. Gilliam 's first solo film as director,; loosely inspired by the Lewis Carroll poem,
reverses the clichés of Arthurian romance, combining wild satire with a murky vision of the Middle Ages. Of his visual approach, he said, "I wanted to make filth beautiful."

4:00 p.m. Monty Python's The Meaning of Life Universal, 1983, 103 mins. Directed by Terry Jones. Written by and starring Monty Python. Animation by Terry Gilliam.
The most freewheeling of the Python feature films takes a scatological tour of human existence, from an Oliver-like musical number about birth control to a memorable encounter with the Grim Reaper. Includes a brilliant Gilliam short, The Crimson Permanent Assurance.

2:00 pm. Time Bandits Handmade Films, 1981, 110 mins. With Sean Connery, Shelley
Duvall, John Cleese, Ralph Richardson.
Mischievous time-traveling dwarves take an eleven-year-old boy on a villainous voyage through the ages. This richly inventive epic fantasy was a huge international success.

One-Eyed Jacks Paramount, 1961, 141 mins. Directed by Marlon Brando. With Marlon Brando, Karl Malden.
Gilliam selects Brando's only film as a director: a fascinating, visually inventive psychological Western in which he stars as an outlaw seeking revenge on his former friend.

2:00 p.m. The Adventures of Baron Munchausen Columbia, 1989, 126 mins. With Eric
Idle, Jonathan Pryce, Robin Williams.
This lavishly mounted treatment of the classic 18th-century children's tale is the culmination of an epic trilogy (along with Time Bandits and Brazil) about fantasy versus reality.

4:30 p.m. The Fisher King TriStar, 1991, 137 mins. Written by Richard LaGravenese. With
Jeff Bridges, Robin Williams, Mercedes RuehI, Amanda Plummer.
Gilliam brings his fanciful vision to modern day New York City in this extravagant yet intimate fantasy romance about the redemption of a mean-spirited radio star thanks to a derelict who is convinced that he's a medieval knight.

Tickets for Close-Up events are $15 per day ($10 for Museum Members). Advance ticket purchase is strongly recommended. To purchase tickets by credit card call 718-784-4520 during office hours (Monday through Friday, 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.). Tickets may also be purchased at the information desk during regular Museum hours.

Hours: Tuesday through Friday, 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, 12 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Program Admission: Admission to film screenings is $5, $4 for persons over 65, and $2.50 for children and students with valid I.D.
All times: Members are admitted free. Reservation privileges are available to
members only.
Admission to Close-Up events requires a special ticket (see above).
Location: 35 Avenue and 36 Street in Astoria.
Subway: R train to Steinway, use the 34 Avenue exit.
Phone: Program information: (718)784-0077. Travel directions: (718)784-4777.

Children under 12 must be accompanied by an adult. No strollers are permitted. The Museum is wheelchair accessible.

The American Museum of the Moving Image occupies a building owned by the City of New York. With the assistance of the Queens Borough President and the Queens Delegation of The New York City Council, the Museum receives support from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs and the New York City Economic Development Corporation. Vital support is also provided by The New York State Council on the Arts, The Natural Heritage Trust (administered by The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation), the National Endowment for the Arts, the Institute of Museum Services, corporations, foundations, and individuals.

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