Terry Gilliam’s memoir is as unique as the man himself. Known for his work with Monty Python and as a director of films like Brazil, Time Bandits, and Twelve Monkeys, Gilliam’s work has always had a surreal quality that makes it instantly recognizable. His “Pre-posthumous Memoir” happily possesses a similar quality.
Most authors would write a memoir that is a prose account of their life, and maybe they would include a couple pictures of the highlights for added effect. Gilliam, originally a cartoonist and animator, naturally flips this idea on its head and sticks pictures all over the book, drawing attention to them with handwritten notes. Sometimes the pictures are a direct reference to the text, sometimes they are tangentially related to the text, and occasionally they have no apparent connection to anything outside of Gilliam’s head.
What we get reads less like a book and more like a collage of many art pieces. The actual text of the memoir ends up being just one piece of many that ties the others together. You could probably only read the handwritten notes and pictures and still get a good sense of Gilliam’s life and personality. The pictures scattered throughout the book are a collection of old family photos, sketches, illustrations, magazine ads, set photos, and more. Gilliam’s early years in advertising and comedy magazines include some of the most surprising work, with hints of what the artist Gilliam would later become. Read the rest