Portuguese convent damaged during filming?


The film-maker Terry Gilliam has denied allegations that a famous Portuguese convent was damaged during the shooting of his long-delayed take on Don Quixote, telling people to get their facts straight “before howling hysterically”.

A report by the Portuguese public broadcaster RTP suggested recent filming for The Man Who Killed Don Quixote left behind chipped masonry, broken roof tiles and uprooted trees at the 12th-century Convent of Christ in Tomar, central Portugal.

The convent, once a stronghold of the Knights Templar, is classed as a Unesco world heritage site. The Portuguese government is investigating the claims. But Gilliam, 76, who has been trying to film an adaptation of Cervantes’s tale of the deluded knight for 17 years, dismissed the reports as “ignorant nonsense”.

Writing on Facebook, he said: “I think the (Convento de Cristo) 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.”

The former Monty Python star added: “There was not an iota of disrespect involved. People should begin by getting the facts before howling hysterically.”

His agents said they had no comment.

A spokeswoman for the government department responsible for Portugal’s cultural heritage confirmed an investigation was under way but said she had few details.