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THE IMAGINARIUM OF DOCTOR PARNASSUS

The Worlds Of Doctor Parnassus
Gilliam's close collaborator, cinematographer Nicola Pecorini, was involved from the beginning of the project. "It's the level of poetry that is present in the script that appealed to me the most. Having shared Terry's last ten years of passions and frustrations, I totally understand where ‘Parnassus' comes from. A tired man, who has been trying to enlighten his fellow humans, to teach them to let their imagination fly and flourish, to consider the power of dreams as a richness and not as a burden. Parnassus is Terry. The script is the fortunate child of years of battle against the system, of frustrations accumulated trying to give shape to sublime ideas.

"I read the story as a fantastic sum of Terry's entire artistic career: you can find in it all the elements that were present, in one way or another, in a veiled or blatant manner, in all his previous works. It's definitely a very mature script and I firmly believe that all those out there (and luckily there are a lot of them) that love and appreciate Terry's previous works will find that ‘Parnassus' is the apotheosis of Gilliam's art.

"We tried to plan every single detail in advance. The Imaginarium sequences, especially, are broken down shot by shot, frame by frame. But even the most careful planning cannot avoid the unexpected, nor human failures, in delivering what's needed in a timely and precise manner. Terry and I share a common vision of the ‘cinematic stage', namely a 360-degree approach to framing. We reached a total symbiosis. Without talking, we always reach the same conclusions and adopt the same solutions. I find it very easy to work with Terry, even if technically it's very difficult. Lighting for a 360-degree field of view is certainly more complicated than sticking to long lenses. The major difficulty is to have other people understanding our approach.

"It is true that he uses wide-angle lenses, but the reality is that the world is made of wide angles. The human vision is wide-angle, so the reality is that you want to offer choices to the spectator and that's Terry's approach. With wide-angle you have the choice of what to look at and you must use your brain to look at things. When you start going tight and have little depth of field you are deciding for the audience what they get to look at. Terry doesn't have that approach in filmmaking and I'm totally with him.

"Every day you learn something new. The moment I finish learning I will change my job. Hopefully that will never come. If you don't learn something new, you must change jobs, because it means you know how to do it.”

Mick Audsley, Terry's film editor on "Twelve Monkeys”, a decade previously, has been waiting for the opportunity to work with the director again. Like Nicola, he also gets involved at a very early stage. "First of all, I start by taking on board the screenplay. I do quite a lot of work early on, because I can perhaps see issues which I'm concerned about, before the film is shot. In conjunction with the director, I have a big say, but I don't have a final say in what ends up on the screen, so my goal is to piece together what I see as the route of the story and orchestrate that story for the audience – a bit like a conductor for an orchestra. So what we do in putting the film together, and the way in which we pace it, is crucial to the audience's journey as they sit and watch it. Notions of speed and comprehension, and performance and selection of performance are all wrapped up in that.

"I think the particular challenges in this film are in the blue screen world, or the artificial world that we're creating behind the mirror. The material, when I receive it, is only partially realised, in fact it's only one fragment of the information that's required. So we have to start the process and make editorial d

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