The man who introduced Monty Python to the world and and directed such films as Brazil, and Twelve Monkeys, decided to try his hand at opera for the first time with The Damnation of Faust. Luckily the production of Berlioz’s masterpiece was not impacted by any of the production problems Gilliam has with his last few films. This isn’t his first time directing away from motion pictures. Last year he directed a webcast for Arcade Fire, and this year he helmed a short film The Wholly Family. Now a trailer for the short has now been released and you can get a feel for how the director has brought his unique directorial style to the film.
The star of the film is Cristiana Capotondi, apparently famous in Italy for a few well-seen TV roles and now becoming a bigger name in cinema. The film is being sponsored by pasta company Garofalo as part of an annual series of films about Naples, and while not much is known about the film, it does come from an original screenplay by Terry Gilliam. The trailer makes it look like Fellini taking on Stephen King’s It.
Gilliam told the press that the film was left entirely in his own creative control, and that this was a rare and luxurious experience for him and went on to say that Naples was not just his set but also his muse. You can read the quotes, translated into Italian, at Corriere del Mezzogiorno. Filming took place at a whole string of locations across the city of Naples: The Hospital for Incurable Diseases and The Children’s Hospital; what was once the Filangieri assylum; around the Obelisk of San Genaro; at the Casina Vanvitelliana, which is a lodge out on the lake; and at caves down on the lake’s edge. The film reportedly features some puppet sequences and a lot of scary clowns.
The Wholly Family will screen on Italian TV, as well as a few cinemas around the country. You can also check out a longer behind-the-scenes video over at the official website.
Check out the teaser trailers for both The Wholly Family and The Damnation of Faust below along with some behind the scenes footage from Arcade Fire Unstaged.