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The Cinema of Terry GilliamIt's a Mad World$
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Jeff Birkenstein, Anna Froula, and Karen Randell

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780231165358

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231165358.001.0001

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Grail Tales

Grail Tales

The Preoccupations of Terry Gilliam

(p.32) Chapter Two Grail Tales
The Cinema of Terry Gilliam

Tony Hood

Columbia University Press

This chapter charts Terry Gilliam's artistic quest to create worlds and his insistence on “trying to control them”. The craft of deconstruction and reconstitution of elements of “the real” can be seen in Gilliam's early career as an animator for the television series Monty Python's Flying Circus (1969–74). His early directorial venture with the Monty Python team in Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975) is a restructuring of Arthurian mythology, lampooning all the allegorical high-seriousness of the Grail quest. But beyond its parodic intent, Gilliam distilled a thematic template from it: the heroic pursuit of the Grail object, and the faith invested in it.

Keywords:   totalitarianism, deconstruction, reconstitution, the real, Monty Python, Arthurian mythology, Grail quest

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