French Court Rules Festival Can Screen Gilliam Film

Gilliam at the 41st Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, April 2006. (Photo credit: che/Wikipedia)

(CN) – A French court on Wednesday ruled the Cannes Film Festival can screen Terry Gilliam’s “The Man Who Killed Don Quixote,” despite a request from the film’s producer that the showing be blocked.

In its ruling, the Paris District Court said the screening, scheduled for May 19, the last night of the festival, must be preceded by a statement saying that the presentation in no way prejudices producer Paulo Branco’s claim to the rights to the film or the ongoing legal battles swirling around it.

The court also ordered Gilliam and other entities associated with the “Don Quixote” to pay Branco’s legal fees, estimated to be just under $2,000.

In the underlying litigation, Branco claims he was wrongly cut out as a producer on “Don Quixote,” in breach of an agreement he and Gilliam signed in 2016.

In a statement, Branco said although the ruling went against him, he is not dissatisfied because the film can still not be commercially released until the legal dispute is settled.

Shortly after the ruling was announced, the film festival took to Twitter to say it was “delighted.”

“The judge said yes,” the tweet said, confirming the upcoming screening.

In an earlier statement, the film festival said it would respect whatever decision the court made, but added, “we strongly affirm that we stand squarely on the side of filmmakers and in particular on the side of Terry Gilliam.”

“We know how important this project, which has gone through so many trials and tribulations, is to him. The trouble [was] caused on this last occasion by the actions of a producer who has shown his true colors once and for all during this episode and who has threatened us, via his lawyer, with a ‘humiliating defeat,’” the April statement said.

Branco said it is now up to Cannes whether to proceed with the closing-night screening in compliance with the court decision.

As for Gilliam, there were published reports earlier this week that he had been stricken with a “minor stroke” and had been briefly hospitalized.

Taking the Twitter on Wednesday, the 77-year-old filmmaker said, “after days of rest and prayers to the Gods, I am restored and well again. So is ‘The Man Who Killed Don Quixote!’ We are legally victorious!”

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