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The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus
dir. Terry Gilliam / UK, Canada, France 2009 / 123’
subtitles: Polish and English


Christopher Plummer, Lily Cole, Richard Riddel, Heath Ledger, Johnny Depp, Jude Law, Colin Farrell, Verne Troyer, Tom Waits, Jose Perez, Peter Stormare, Andrew Garfield


Costume Designers Guild Awards 2010 – Excellence in Costume Design for Film – Fantasy; Satellite Awards 2009 – Best Costume Design

Film description

Doctor Parnassus (Christopher Plummer) is one thousand years old. He owns an antiquated travelling theatre, or rather a cabinet of curiosities with an especially unusual mirror, whose troupe plays to sparse, unappreciative audiences in modern London. But Parnassus has graver problems – a long time ago, he promised his child to the devil in exchange for perpetual youth. When his daughter Valentina (Lily Cole) is about to turn sixteen, the Devil (Tom Waits) offers Parnassus a way out – if he can win a sly wager. Into this charged atmosphere comes Tony (played by Heath Ledger and – after Ledger’s untimely death – successively by Johnny Depp, Jude Law and Colin Farrell) a mysterious man whom the troupe rescue from near death. Gilliam’s actors exchange leading roles: the centre of attention shifts from Parnassus to the Devil, from the flowering Valentina to the evasive Tony. With shades of Samuel Becketts’ Waiting for Godot and inspired by the paintings of Claude Monet, Maxfield Parrish and Grant Wood, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus and its mirror-world CGI landscape scenes may be less endearing than The Adventures of Baron Munchausen’s old-world stage sets, but Gilliam’s surrealistic imagination does not fail to surprise.

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