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The Fisher King
dir. Terry Gilliam / USA 1991 / 137’
subtitles: Polish

Cast

Jeff Bridges, Mercedes Ruehl, Robin Williams, Amanda Plummer, David Pierce, Lara Harris, Michael Jeter, Tom Waits

awards

Academy Award USA 1992 – Oscar for Best Actress in a Supporting Role; Golden Globes 1992 – Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Comedy/Musical, Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture; Venice IFF 1991 – Silver Lion; BSFC Award 1991 – Best Supporting Actress; LAFCA Award 1991 – Best Actress

Film description

The first project on which Gilliam directed someone else’s script, The Fisher King is nevertheless imbued with the fairy tale themes so close to the director’s heart. Jack Lucas (Jeff Bridges) is a cynical talk radio host. After his insensitive on-air comments lead a caller to commit murder, Lucas’ career comes to a sudden stop and as he goes into media limbo, he falls ever deeper into depression. Things change when he meets Parry (Robin Williams), a delusional homeless man convinced that he is on a mission to find the Holy Grail – in Manhattan. Lucas eventually helps Parry, not only on his quest, but also in wooing Lydia, the unwitting object of Parry’s affections. Two love stories, a social satire, a morality tale and a tragicomedy all rolled into one – Hollywood conventions subtly intertwine with legends to make the film an original, layered and sharp tale. At times, The Fisher King verges on kitsch, but it is always kept on solid footing by the strength of the performances of its four lead actors. Contemporary Manhattan may not have the rich, decorative elements so typical the filmmaker’s work, yet Gilliam succeeded in filming it as a mythical land where glass skyscrapers overlook a fog-covered Central Park and labyrinths of waterfront slums. Gilliam uncovers the magic under the surface of the most ordinary places – as he does beautifully in the entrancing Central Station waltz scene.


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