Monty Python legend Terry Gilliam has hit out at allegations that a film he struggled to make over 16 years was responsible for “partially destroying” one of Portugal’s most cherished monuments.
According to State news provider RTP, the most recent location shoot for “The Man Who Killed Don Quixote” left behind chipped masonry, broken roof tiles and uprooted trees at Tomar’s stunning 12th century “Convento de Cristo”.
Expresso claims the damage came to €2,900 – which could not in any way equate to the rush of headlines claiming “partial destruction” of the 12th century world heritage site.
Unfazed, Gilliam has put the upset down to ignorance and people “howling hysterically” before getting their facts straight.
Writing on Facebook, he said: “I think the Convento is one of the most glorious buildings I have ever seen. Everything we did there was to protect the building from harm… and we succeeded. Trees were not cut down, stones were not broken. There was not an iota of disrespect involved”.
According to the Guardian, a spokeswoman for the government department responsible for Portugal’s cultural heritage has confirmed that an investigation is underway, but “said she had few details”.
“The decision was announced on Saturday so it’s still very early on in the inquiry,” she told the paper yesterday (on Monday).
Tomar’s Convento is a former stronghold of the Knights Templar.
Ukbar Filmes, the Portuguese production company used at the location shoot, has acknowledged that there was “some damage” during filming which “will be restored”.
Gilliam’s film, meantime, is finally in the can after what the Guardian calls “a catalogue of disasters that included torrential rain and constant flyovers by military jets from a nearby Nato base”.