This month, The Frida Cinema celebrates the release of director Terry Gilliam’s long-gestating film The Man Who Killed Don Quixote (coming to The Frida May 10th!) by presenting six films by the visionary auteur filmmaker! We’re kicking it off with his bombastic, surreal 1981 classic Time Bandits, a film that preceded such beloved films as Willow and The Princess Bride in weaving fantasy and adventure with tongue-in-cheek wit and pitch-black comedy.
Kevin (Craig Warnock), a little boy with a vivid imagination and a love of history, lives in a sterile English middle class town with his game-show-obsessed parents. His dreary life is turned upside down when six little people with a map containing holes in the space fabric of time come crashing into his bedroom from his closet while running away from a terrifying floating face known as “Supreme Being.” (And that’s just the first few minutes….) Jumping into the void along with his new companions, Kevin gets caught up in a wild adventure through time, leaping between different adventures through history, and meeting up with everyone from King Agamemnon (Sean Connery) to Robin Hood (John Cleese) on an amazing journey that would seem the ultimate dream of any young boy – until the unlikely troupe find themselves in an epic battle against Evil himself, who is determined to steal the map for himself and create his own dark universe.
A cross between Doctor Who and Tales of Narnia, with a splash of Monty Python humor, Time Bandits is an an eccentric and cutting-edge film that balances both child-like wonder and adult sophistication. When major studios initially turned down the film, former Beatles guitarist George Harrison himself stepped up to finance the film — and even sang/wrote/produced the song “Dream Away” for the soundtrack. Anchored by the film’s stellar cast, which is rounded out by Shelley Duvall, Michael Palin, and Kenny Baker (Star Wars’ R2-D2 himself), Time Bandits ultimately became a successful hit, and today stands as a cult classic that seems to get even smarter – and darker – with time.
“Amazingly well produced. The historic locations are jammed with character and detail. This is the only live-action movie I’ve seen that literally looks like pages out of Heavy Metal magazine.” – Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun Times
“The film is resolutely, passionately anti-adult, yet much of the humor has an adult sophistication and edge to it; this is one kid’s movie that doesn’t condescend.” – Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader
“A cheerfully irreverent lark—part fairy tale, part science fiction, and part comedy.” – Vincent Canby, New York Times