But then the problems begin to pile up -- slowly at first, and then escalating at an alarming and almost farcical rate. (The camera often catches Gilliam chuckling to himself, or to the heavens; at times the only thing for him to do is have a laugh over his own bad luck.) If Gilliam had tried to dream up a movie about a disastrous film shoot, he couldn't have topped this one: The actors took forever to get to Madrid, where the movie was to be shot, and were arriving piecemeal. The filming starts out well enough, but toward the end of the first week of location shooting, a huge rainstorm descends (Pepe and Fulton's cameras capture the terrifying blackness of the sky): It destroys equipment but also changes the color and contours of the landscape. Gilliam and his team are forced to postpone the shooting at that location, as the shots wouldn't match. They scramble to figure out how to best use their time, and each tick of the clock means more money lost.
But that's not all. Rochefort, a master horseman, has trouble mounting the bony steed he's supposed to ride. He's in such great pain that he has to return to Paris to see his doctor (as it turns out, he has a herniated disc, which sidelines him indefinitely). Then the insurance adjusters arrive, and while the storm-damaged equipment is covered, there's some question as to how much of the money lost on the movie's shooting schedule will be covered by the policy. There's a clause stating that if a movie falls behind schedule because of an "act of God" -- and a storm, as well as a herniated disc, would probably qualify -- the lost time isn't covered.
The epigraph quoted above indicates that Handke's novel probably will tell a modern version of the adventure-packed old tale of knight-errantry and enchantments. Indeed, the 750-page text recounts an adventure story. Spooky places are visited, travelers (some of them manifesting bizarre psychological traumas) narrate their personal stories over a meal, a mythic people is found whose ways are different, and, as it also happens in Don Quixote of La Mancha, possessions are lost, and things once lost are suddenly found. To make sure we don't misunderstand the literary genre, the female protagonist is called "die Aventurera" (750) ["the adventurera" (466)] and we find sentences such as the following: "Das aus so vielen Aben-teuergeschichten bekannte Zittern im nachhinein kam über sie. Aber war das nicht andererseits der Beweis für ein richtiges Abenteuer?" (742) ["The retroactive trembling familiar from so many adventure stories came over her. But wasn't this, on [End Page 262] the other hand, the unmistakable sign of a proper adventure?" (461)]. Most importantly, like Cervantes's Don Quixote, Handke's Der Bildverlust is an adventure novel about a quest, not the one for knight-errantry that is directed towards courtly love, but, as has been mentioned, a vision quest. Due to this quest for the right vision and the obsession with which it is pursued, Klaus Kastberger claims about Handke's novel: "Das Ganze der Neuzeit steckt in diesem Buch" (173) [The whole of modernity is contained in this book]. 781b155fdc