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An elderly man pulls his carriage to the curb and prepares to put on a show. Onlookers watch with a mixture of bewilderment and vague familiarity; the man’s shtick, once enjoyed by the masses, now gets passing glances. The show begins and it’s hard to tell if the crowd is entertained or simply bemused by the old-fashioned spectacle.

The above scenario befalls the titular hero of The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, but in some ways it also describes the struggles of the film’s perspicacious director. For 30 years Terry Gilliam has battled to tell his fantastical stories without interference from the prying hands of Hollywood. But lately audiences have seemingly become tired of Gilliam’s madness. The Brothers Grimm, a realistic look at the 19th-century fairytale writers, received lackluster box office returns. Gilliam followed up with the low-budget Tideland, which did even worse. In fact, you could make the argument that the best of Gilliam’s recent work was contained within his biggest failure. In the award-winning documentary Lost in La Mancha, directors Keith Fulton and Louis Pepe filmed the disintegration of Gilliam’s 2000 The Man Who Killed Don Quixote, a project bedeviled by a flash flood, NATO test flights interrupting location shoots and, finally, an injury to Gilliam’s Quixote, Jean Rochefort, which halted the project permanently.

With Doctor Parnassus, Gilliam once more seeks a multiplex audience, this time by returning to the anarchic blending of fantasy and reality that garnered him critical acclaim in the ’80s with films like Time BanditsBrazil andThe Adventures of Baron Munchausen. Christopher Plummer plays Parnassus, an immortal dream weaver who travels around modern-day London in a horse-drawn wagon with his street performers, Percy (Verne Troyer), Anton (Andrew Garfield) and his daughter Valentina (Lily Cole). Putting on shows in front of bars and strip mall parking lots, Parnassus uses his powers to lure people into his magical mirror, where the unsuspecting volunteers find themselves in a world created from their subconscious. But unbeknownst to them, they have to decide while in the Imaginarium if they will exit back into the real world or go deeper inside where the Devil is waiting. We learn this is a game Parnassus and the Prince of Darkness (played with great wit by Tom Waits) have been playing for centuries, and now Parnassus’s daughter is the prize for whoever can get the most souls by her 16th birthday. But with Valentina’s sweet 16 nearing and Parnassus’s theatrics less enticing to modern audiences, Parnassus needs a new draw. He picks up a con artist named Tony (Heath Ledger), and with his help the game suddenly changes.

The film was selected for the Cannes Film Festival and has received generally good reviews, but, as everyone knows, production catastrophes seem to plague all of Gilliam’s films. Two days after wrapping shooting in London and moving to Vancouver to do the CGI for the Imaginarium scenes, Ledger was found dead at his New York City apartment of an accidental overdose. The passing of his star and good friend sapped the energy out of Gilliam, who was prepared to terminate production. But through the coaxing of his daughter, producer Amy Gilliam, and others, he rewrote the story, with Johnny Depp, Jude Law and Colin Farrell all volunteering to take over Ledger’s character, giving Gilliam the rejuvenation he needed to bring his latest fantasy to life.

Gilliam sat down for lunch with Filmmaker in New York City last month to talk about why he won’t pander to the audience, the resurrection of The Man Who Killed Don Quixote and what drives him to still make movies.


Is it true that this is the first original screenplay you’ve written since Brazil? I think so. Everything else, and you can include Munchausen, there was a book that started it. This was the first one that started with nothing except hopefully whatever imagination and talent I still have left. Well [it started with] me and [screenwriter] Charles McKeown [Gilliam’s collaborator on BrazilThe Adventures of Baron Munchausen] as, literally, a blank page. I just wanted to see if I still had the stuff anymore.

What comes first for you when you write: visual images or story? Well, there was no story for quite a while. There had been a thing that I had been pondering over for years, images of something from another time ending up in our time and nobody being able to explain it. It was as simple as that. Then at one point, because I have a house in Italy, people said, “Oh, wouldn’t it be great to do the whole thing in Italy?” And I thought of images of an old wagon and then, bingo, it was pretty quick to the idea of this traveling show from another time turning up in modern London. Something wonderful, exotic, ancient and weird, and nobody ever paying attention to it.

Tell me about your collaboration with McKeown. There’s no real form. Half of the time it’s by trading e-mails — we don’t have to be together. So he’ll write a whole chunk, and I’ll write, and we’ll stick it together and see if we should change it or not. It’s a constant dialogue, I suppose, and the story develops that way. I wish I had a system but I don’t. There isn’t a system except my instinct. And what’s difficult with Charles is he’s more verbal and I’m more visual, so he has to trust that the visual bit that I’m doing is going to work.

What about the character of the street performer, which is a familiar one from much of modern cinema. Was this a starting point? Yes and no. It was actually the wagon itself. That first shot of the film is really where it began for me in my head. And then we work out who are these people, what are they doing, what are they selling? And little by little we came up with [the story]. I told Charles it would be great to do something like Bergman did in Fanny and Alexander and Fellini with Amarcord, which were both films at a certain point in their career where they relaxed, stopped dealing with hard issues and just did what was natural. This was a way to use all of the ideas in my desk that had never found a home. They all didn’t make it into the film but they were nice starting points. I think the other film that I remembered watching was The Seventh Seal. Suddenly there’s that little traveling theater and that little family in the movie, and in fact the character Joseph, the father in the movie, is who we based Anton on because he’s an innocent. Then with Parnassus having a daughter, that was me coming into the scene just like Munchausen — it’s me having two daughters. My son is really pissed off — he never turns up in my films. [Laughs]

I’ve read that Georges Méliès was an inspiration. Didn’t he do street performing at the end of his life?No, he had a little stall outside of a train station in Paris where he sold children’s toys. I mean here was the guy who was the first great fantasist, sci-fi filmmaker, magician, everything, so the end of the film is an homage to Méliès. I discovered a month ago in France that the train station outside of which Méliès was selling his toys was named Montparnasse. It’s moments like these when you think there are forces at work.

How much of Parnassus’s personality, particularly his relentless drive to tell a story, come from you?Well the part that I put in was the frustration of thinking that I have interesting things to say and to inspire and enlighten and nobody is paying attention. It’s that frustration that any artistic person feels in one form or another. No matter how successful you become that is the needling thing — you can reach more people… if only. [Laughs]

It felt to me that you were saying it was never too late for us to find that imagination, but that perhaps modern technology is leading us away from the creativity contained naturally within us. It’s like theater. Theater is artifice, it’s fake, but you, the audience, have to take those sets and make them into real things. It’s like children when they play with toys. [Gilliam begins playing with his knife] I have a train and I’m going to put it here — that’s an active imagination turning that knife into a beautiful silver train. That’s what children do. I think adults stop doing that. They learn to focus. That’s how they think you have to get through life, with structure. I think cinema and television now are becoming passive mediums because there’s so much information, you don’t have to fill in the gaps. Everything is already all there. The big films today are the same film again and again and again. You watch trailers, they’re exactly the same, just different costumes. The rhythms are the same, and that’s what bothers me.

[Most films] are naturalistic, no matter how fantastical they are. I’ve always wanted to be hyperrealistic but not naturalistic, and in this one in particular. In the Imaginarium those landscapes are obviously not naturalistic but they’re believable. And also, I just want the audience to work and then start to get involved. The more you work on something the more you get out of it. It’s like Don DeLillo’s White Noise — we’re inundated with noise, information, facts, but how much do they actually apply to our lives? The example I use is we have a house in Italy and my son will come over. It’s very basic; we have no television or phone. It’s just there. And we would go there and he’d be bored. He’s a 13-year-old kid, and he’s like, “Where are the video games?” Then by the third day suddenly he’s doing things. That tree becomes something, and he’s inventing a world, and he’s excited and having fun. But when we leave he’s back at the television. So that’s what scares me about the modern world.

You use CGI, which is a tool that most films today use. But is there a point when you even find that it becomes too much, when it fights against that “hyperrealistic” feel you are looking for? The budget. [Laughs] No, it’s not an aesthetic problem in that sense of what is real, what’s tangible, where you need weight and gravity and where you don’t. I’m pragmatic, [looking for] what will get the job done most efficiently and cheapest. I don’t want unlimited things. I want to be restrained.

When did Heath Ledger originally get involved in the project? After Brothers Grimm we were really close but he went through a very weird year after Brokeback Mountain. He hated doing all of the publicity for the Oscars. You go through all of that and you don’t win, so he said he wanted to go back and do some small films in Australia. He was going in all directions, and I offered him a couple of things. He was in London working on the editing of his Modest Mouse video — this was around the time he was playing the Joker — and while he was working on that he passed me a note asking if he could play Tony. I asked him why and he said, “Because I want to see this movie.” Ironically he’s the one person who can’t see the movie. The god of irony is the most powerful god of all.

Once you started up the project after Ledger’s death, how long did it take you to realize it could still work? Pragmatically there was no way to get one great actor to come in for a couple of weeks and take the part, nor did I think it was the right thing to do. But three actors, that would be interesting. So I just started calling friends. And we ended up with these three losers. [Laughs] They were great, but it was a real nightmare to work around all their schedules. And the difficult thing about it was I had no faith that it would work. Then we were in London to do the assembly. We showed it to the guy who was doing the postproduction sound and for some reason, I guess he hadn’t been reading the papers, [laughs] he’d just assumed it had been written to be done exactly like that. That’s when I knew it would work.

This could be my imagination at play, but when we’re introduced to the different Tonys in the Imaginarium, before seeing their faces, it almost looks like Heath’s features before Depp or Law or Farrell are revealed. Was there any CGI used to blend his facial structure into theirs? You spotted it. But it’s not CG — it’s all real. We found a double, his credit is hidden but it’s Heath’s double, Zander Gladish, an actor from New York who looks so much like Heath it’s crazy. No one has asked me about this, but that’s why the transitions work. You don’t go into the mirror and become someone else — you gradually do it. It was just spooky — there were days you’d come to work in the morning and Zander would be sitting there and I’d swear it was Heath.

How about in terms of the storyline? Was it difficult to rewrite after Heath’s death? No. We held onto certain scenes that I thought I’d be able to block, which in the end I kind of did. I changed the drunk guy’s face in the beginning, but the rest of it is as written. I added things like the women revealing Johnny and saying, “I dreamed you would always look like this” — that sells the transformation. But the rest is the original story. There is a scene were Tony and Anton fight on the other side of the mirror. Originally that was supposed to be in the wagon, but now it works better because it’s the two rivals fighting over Valentina, and that’s why I always say Heath co-directed this film posthumously.

I’ve read that some of your highest test-screening scores have come from children. Yes. I keep telling people this. All of the good, sophisticated, knowledgeable people in the business think I’m crazy, and they are absolutely wrong. The youngest are 7 year olds who’ve seen the movie — 7, 8, 9 year olds. It works right across the board, just like Time Bandits and Munchausen. I don’t know why the [executives] don’t understand — for kids this is wondrous. It’s a beautiful storybook, and you don’t have to understand all of the intellectual ideas.

Is it true that The Man Who Killed Don Quixote is back in the works? After seven years in the French legal wilderness I finally read the script again. Through this whole time I’d never read it because I thought it was perfect. Then I went back and read it and thought, “This is a piece of shit.” [Laughs] We did a rewrite, only the beginning [of the script], but it has now changed the meaning of everything and it’s so much fucking better. People say it’s the curse of Gilliam. It’s the luck of Gilliam — I would have made the film and it wouldn’t have been good. So we’re out there casting and Robert Duvall let it out [that he wants to play Quixote]. I have been staying quiet. I think it would be exciting to have him do it. Now we’re just looking for money. [Laughs] But we have a script and a budget, and we’re trying to get realistic with the budget because we’re in the difficult money, the $25 to $30 million range — no one will give you that. The way you do it is through foreign money. There is money out there. That’s what we did with Parnassus; we patched it together from all over the world.

And Johnny Depp is no longer involved? Johnny and I are happily divorced. [Laughs] I love him and he’s one of my best friends, but he has to escape from Jack Sparrow. Jack has run its course, but how can you run away when they’re offering you that kind of money?

So you’re still searching for someone? I have someone but I’m not telling.

Looking back on your career there have been struggles in every project you’ve done. What is it that keeps you driven to continue making films? That’s the thing, I don’t know what it is. It’s much easier to say, “Fuck it, I don’t need this anymore.” But I do it every day. My wife wants me to stop. It’s partly out of sheer perversity. I’ve now entered my 70th year on this planet. That’s an old fart, and it’s the weariness that creeps in that I’m most worried about. Once you get working the adrenaline is pumping and the enthusiasm is there, but it’s the business of pushing something into existence, this money phase, I’m just fucking tired of. I hate it. Whenever I go out there and raise money I talk to people and they tell me how Time Bandits changed their lives and that they loved Munchausen. “But this new one, I just don’t know.” Well, nobody wanted those other ones either. [Laughs] You find the one guy in Hollywood who wants it made and then everybody thinks it was obvious.

What’s the payoff, then? People like my films. When I see an audience beaming it’s great. It’s that more than anything. It’s not so much that I have important things to say and they must be said at all costs. It’s not that. It’s that I make it and somewhere down the line somebody walks up to me and says, “Munchausen… man.” You know you actually got to somebody. It’s as simple as that.


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By Jason Guerrasio



Seven Nation Army” is the first track on the album  Elephant by American alternative rock band  The White Stripes. It was released as a single in 2003. Seven Nation Army reached #1 on the Modern Rock Tracks for three weeks and won 2004’s Grammy Award for Best Rock Song. The song is known for its underlying riff, which plays throughout most of the song. Although it sounds like a bass guitar (an instrument the group had famously never previously used), the sound is actually created by running Jack White‘s semi-acoustic guitar (a 1950s style Kay Hollowbody) through a Digitech Whammy pedal set down an octave. The riff was composed at a sound check before a show at the Corner Hotel in MelbourneAustralia, according to the set notes in the booklet which accompanied the Under Blackpool Lights DVD. This riff was inspired by the main theme of Anton Bruckner‘s Fifth symphony.

According to White, “Seven Nation Army” is what he used to call the  Salvation Army as a child.

In March 2005, Q magazine placed “Seven Nation Army” at number 8 in its list of the 100 Greatest Guitar Tracks. In September 2005, NME placed “Seven Nation Army” at number 5 in its list of the 50 Greatest Tracks Of The Decade. It was also called the 75th greatest hard rock song by VH1. In May 2008,Rolling Stone placed this song at number 21 in its list of the 100 Greatest Guitar Songs of All Time. The song was named the 75th best hard rock song of all time by VH1. “Seven Nation Army” also earned 20th place in Triple J‘s Hottest 100 of All Time in 2009. The song was also listed at #30 on Pitchfork Media‘s top 500 songs of the 2000s, and at number 2 in Observer Music Monthly‘s top 75 songs of the decade, behind Beyoncé‘s “Crazy in Love“. It also came in second on Channel V Australia’s top 1000 songs of the 00s. In 2009, US website Consequence of Sound named this as their top rock track of the 2000s, as did Boston’sWFNX Radio. On Rolling Stone’s updated version of their The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time, “Seven Nation Army” was listed at number 286. It was also ranked #1 onRhapsody‘s list of the Top 100 Tracks of the Decade.

The song is also very popular in European football stadiums even becoming the anthem of the the Italians’ world cup win in 2006 and of the Euro 2008.5

Directed by Alex & Martin

Wildstyle is a complicated and intricate form of graffiti. Due to its complexity, it is often very hard to read by people who are not familiar with it. Usually, this form of graffiti incorporates interwoven and overlapping letters and shapes. It may include arrows, spikes, and other decorative elements depending on the technique used. The numerous layers and shapes make this style extremely difficult to produce homogeneously, which is why developing an original style in this field is seen as one of the greatest artistic challenges to a graffiti writer. Wildstyle pieces are also known as “burners”, meaning “hot” as fire. Wildstyles are seen as one of the most complicated and difficult tags and are often used to get an artist’s work seen (rather than to put a political message or any other kind of message across).


Pioneers of Wildstyle

The original pioneers of wildstyle were Tracy  168 and Stay High 149, and later such notables as Zephyr and Fate 170 advanced the highly personalized style.





Styles of the Wildstyle

Wildstyles commonly include a set of arrows, curves and letters which have been so transformed as to be rendered arcane to the eyes of non-graffiti artists. It has also been common practice to incorporate 3D elements into the pieces, and even transform the whole letter structure into three dimensions, to add to the depth of visual perception of the work. Many artists have different elements to add to their wildstyle that gain that writer a good deal of respect within the graffiti scene, especially if one creates his own style and stays original and creative. Veteran artists tend to go for more complicated forms of wildstyle in which the types are hard to read but broad in creativity. Getting one’s style mastered is key to achieving this success.







Wild Style 1983

Wild Style was the first hip hop motion picture. Released theatrically in 1983 by First Run Features and later re-released for home video by Rhino Home Video, the movie was directed by  Charlie Ahearn (director of the feature films Deadly Art of Survival and Fear of Fiction) and featured  Fab Five FreddyLee Quinonesthe Rock Steady CrewThe Cold Crush BrothersPatti AstorSandra Fabara and Grandmaster Flash. The protagonist “Zoro” is played by the legendary New York graffiti artist “Lee” George Quinones. An early version of the ‘Wild Style’ logo appeared in the Fall of 1981 when Charlie Ahearn hired graffiti legend Dondi to paint the ‘window down’ subway car piece that appears in the film . The Dondi piece was the inspiration for the animated title sequence designed by the artist Zephyr in 1982 . The ‘Wild Style’ logo was designed by Zephyr and painted as a huge ‘burner’ mural by Zephyr, Revolt, and Sharp in the Summer of 1983 (3). The film is unique in that many of the actors’ roles were written to express their real-life personalities.


Stop motion (also known as stop action or frame-by-frame) is an animation technique to make a physically manipulated object appear to move on its own. The object is moved in small increments between individually photographed frames, creating the illusion of movement when the series of frames is played as a continuous sequence.

The Boxer” is the third single from The Chemical Brothers 2005 albumPush the Button, released in early July 2005 (see 2005 in music). The song features The Charlatans lead singer Tim Burgess on vocals. It is notable that it was the first single released by The Chemical Brothers not to peak within the top 40 of the UK Charts. It’s the second Chemical Brothers single to feature Tim Burgess following “Life is Sweet“, which was released 10 years before.


Banksy is the pseudonym of a prolific British graffiti  artist ,  political activist and painter, whose identity is unconfirmed. His  satirical street  art and subversive epigrams combine irreverent dark humour with graffiti done in a distinctive stencilling technique. Such artistic works of political and social commentary have been featured on streets, walls, and bridges of cities throughout the world.

Banksy’s work was born out of the Bristol underground scene which involved collaborations between artists and musicians. According to author and graphic designer Tristan Manco, Banksy “was born in 1974 and raised in Bristol, England. The son of a photocopier technician, he trained as a butcher but became involved in graffiti during the great Bristol aerosol boom of the late 1980s.”Observers have noted that his style is similar to Blek le Rat, who began to work with stencils in 1981 in Paris and members of the anarcho-punk band Crass who maintained a graffiti stencil campaign on the London Tube System in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

” We can’t do anything to change the world until capitalism crumbles. In the meantime we should all go shopping to console ourselves.”

— Banksy, Wall and Piece

Banksy’s works have dealt with an array of political and social themes, including anti-War, anti-capitalism, anti-fascism, anti-imperialism, anti-authoritarianism, anarchism, nihilism, and existentialism. Additionally, the components of the human condition that his works commonly critique are greed, poverty, hypocrisy, boredom, despair, absurdity, and alienation. Although Banksy’s works usually rely on visual imagery and iconography to put forth his message, he has made several politically related comments in his various books. In surmising his list of “people who should be shot”, he listed “Fascist thugs, religious fundamentalists, (and) people who write lists telling you who should be shot.” While facetiously describing his political nature, Banksy declared that “Sometimes I feel so sick at the state of the world, I can’t even finish my second apple pie.

The term Street Art has evolved to define the more visual and engaging aspects of urban art, as opposed to simply text-based graffiti and tagging. This film follows such notorious cult figures as: Blek Le Rat, Nano 4814, Nuria, Sweet Toof, NoNose, and Eine, as they work upon the pavements of Paris Londonand Madrid During the film we pursue these characters as they create new pieces and discuss the varying approaches to Street Art in these three diverse cities.

We also meet some of the artists taking part in the first ever Street Art exhibition at Tate Modern, and explore the rapidly expanding commercial market that’s turning street artists into big earners at the auction houses. What does this newfound profitable aspect mean for this formerly underground and anti-establishment scene?

TOOL hasn’t licensed its music since 1996, allowed for the inclusion of three of its songs in World Tour as long they were involved with the artwork and tracking of the songs for the game, leading to the creation of the art-like Tool venue created by Adam Jones.

Guitar Hero World Tour is the first game in the Guitar Hero series to feature drum and microphone controllers for percussion and vocal parts, similar in manner to the competing Rock Band series of games. The game allows users to create new songs through the “Music Studio” mode, which can then be uploaded and shared through a service known as “GHTunes”.

The video is completely made through use of CGI, making it Tool’s first full CGI video, as opposed to stop-motion animation, which the band has used in their past videos.

The video was co-directed by guitarist  Adam Jones and artist   Alex Grey and also features creative input from Chet Zar ( American artist notable for his dark visual art, make-up effects, and digital animation).

Koyaanisqatsi means “crazy life, life in turmoil, life out of balance, life disintegrating, a state of life that calls for another way of living”.

Koyaanisqatsi: Life out of Balance, is a1982 film directed by  Godfrey Reggio with music composed by  Philip Glass and cinematography by  Ron Fricke.

The film is the first in the Qatsi trilogy of films: it is followed by Powaqqatsi (1988) andNaqoyqatsi (2002). The trilogy depicts different aspects of the relationship between humans, nature, and technology.

Baraka is often compared to this movie. Fricke is by far my favorite cinematographer of all time.  He designed and used his own 70mm camera equipment for Baraka and his later projects. He also directed the IMAX films Chronos(1985) and Sacred Site (1986). His most recent work was as cinematographer for parts of the film Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (he was hired to shoot the eruption of Mt Etna in Sicily for use in scenes of the volcanic planet Mustafar). The sequel to BarakaSamsara, is currently in production.

A true inspiration to all cinematographers


The expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power.