Terry Gilliam is one the most compelling and frustrating animators out there. I first encountered him when CBS aired Time Bandits as a movie of the week in the mid-80s. I also saw The Adventures of Baron Munchausen thanks to Los Angeles television station KTLA‘s impressive weekend film programs. His movies are incredible visual journeys, but ever since floods washed away his sets during his first attempt to make The Man Who Killed Don Quixote, his work — including films like The Brothers Grimm and The Zero Theorem — has been … not as compelling. Tideland, in particular, struck me as the work of a person no longer in love with the art.
But long before his career as a film director, he was the animator in charge of the interstitial weirdness on Monty Python’s Flying Circus and in this video from the Do It Yourself Film Animation Show, noted by Open Culture, he discusses his favored technique. Utilizing cut-outs sourced from old photographs or magazines to create a world and characters quickly, Gilliam offers a fascinating look not just into the process, but his creative spirit. Also on display: his absolute joy in creating.
Gilliam is currently in pre-production on another attempt to bring The Man Who Killed Don Quixote to the screen and I hope he recovers some of the joy seen in the video.