An interview with Peter Weir before the Los Angeles premiere of "The Way Back"
Zbigniew: You live in Australia, a safe place very distant from Europe's XX century experience.
Peter: I grew up by the water in a rather blissful paradise, Sydney Harbor. Watching those big ships go out to Europe, I thought, “I’ll be on one as soon as I can. As soon as I’m old enough.” And I did in July 1965 . I was twenty and headed to Europe. That was the cheapest way to go. I came through a perfect cultural journey that is through Egypt to Greece and then overland to Italy. For a fellow from young country with not much history, to go back on that route which was the history of our culture, was magnificent.
Zbigniew: In the 60s Australia was quite a distance away. It got much closer to the Western world since then.
Peter: Before I came home, the 707 had really opened up the country and it was cheaper to fly home then it was to go by ship. I was one of the last who could travel by sea, and with a five week voyage you really had a sense of the distance that this European outpost was from its cultural roots, and a full realization that we were Europeans in the main. We were in a sense Europeans orphaned in the south. You have to go back to know who you really are, where you came from. My roots were essentially Scottish, my great-grandfather came out to Australia in the 1860. It was a journey of discovery to --- I had a hunger for a knowledge of who we were at a deeper level. Many people don’t worry about that, but my Australian nationality, I think, is a blessing, but it’s really strangely arbitrary. Since that trip in 1965 I’ve traveled, read and wondered a lot, about those who have had different experiences. To whatever degree, I tried to put myself as much as one can, in the shoes of those who’ve suffered.
Zbigniew: Your first trip to Europe took place only twenty years after WW II. War was still a popular subject in literature and films in the 1960s. The film directors then, many of them former soldiers, created films cleansing their own soul, lighting a candle on the graves of those who perished. You have made war movies before. Gallipoli was about the Australians who fought on the European continent. Was it your tribute to the fallen soldiers?
Peter: I don’t think I made it entirely for that reason, but it was the result of a visit to the battlefield. I thought I would do something on the first war about Australians in action and I thought of France. Fascinated as many are, by the horror of trench warfare and its strange sort of stark and fantastical scenes of people fighting in the mud in the middle of countryside. But, a friend said, “You should take a look at Gallipoli.” So, I went there. You could actually move through the trenches which had fallen in. They were full of relics, lots of ordinates, lots of ammunition. I picked up a boot which had shrunk down to the size of a child’s boot, and I found pottery, water bottle which was stamped with a particular Australian town. I felt the place was actually haunted and felt the presence of these dead young men. That evening at the hotel I was on my own I thought, “I must make a film about this.”
Zbigniew: Producing film is your own battlefield. You have to take control over a small army of people, give them commands, expect them to execute your orders.
Peter: It’s very hierarchical. It always amuses me when someone’s accepting a prize and they say “Well, it’s a team, we all work together as a team.” It’s not quite that. There’s a captain and you know there’s far more hierarchical than a football team. It’s much more, as you say, military in its structure.
Zbigniew: Actors aren’t your soldiers. You don’t have the same power over them as the general.
Peter: No, and there’s no bullets flying, but it’s often been used as an analogy to a military situation. You plan your campaign and you run risks of defeat. The analogy I prefer, at least for a film director, is a mountain climber; a very highly experienced guide. I take a whole group of people up a mountain. Every film is a different peak. It’s just as easy despite all the experience you have, that you could take and make a missed-step. You could be surrounded by bad weather. I was struck by the terrible series of deaths on Everest in 1996, a terrible climbing season where experienced guides perished with some of their clients. Just a series of small mistakes that you would think the experienced person wouldn’t make. With film directing, each film is a fascinating new experience which you may or may not be successful. It’s very difficult.
Zbigniew: It takes years before you finally get the camera rolling. You generally make one film every five years? You collect information on the subject from a variety of sources. How did you go about it for this film?
Peter: It was a combination of reading, of travel to the locations and of interviews with survivors of the Gulag system in the Soviet Union. Above all, reading. I could never get enough. One book would lead to another. I read something like sixty or seventy books. True accounts, histories and even of course fiction. There was always another book. Even now, after the film I continue to read on and find other material. It was a combination of those sources.
Zbigniew: From what I have heard, making this film was one of the most difficult projects you ever undertook?
Peter: Well, physically difficult. In a way that all films are difficult. You could have something that was in a very few locations that was physically comfortable but maybe intellectually very difficult. There’s always some challenge involved, because there should be. As far as I see it, the film should be challenging because otherwise you would be making a factory product. Each presents their own difficulties. This one presented the physical difficulty, related to time. The cast is large. There’s usually six or seven in the group (ZS: of escapees), depending on if somebody’s died. They’re there every day and we have to travel some distance to get to the mountain or to the desert or to the forest. You have to get out of those trucks and be filming as quickly as you can because there’s only one day to get that scene, then you’re moving to another location. The Gulag part wasn’t physically difficult, more conventional, but that only occupied probably twenty percent of the film and the rest of it was exteriors in difficult physical circumstances.
Zbigniew: You got injured during the filming what handicapped you for some time during the filming?
Peter: Initially, yes, I injured my knee in a cave. I was frightened that I might be unable to continue on the film because of what the doctor said, “You’ve just got to keep off your knee.” So, I couldn’t do that for the entire film, with these locations. Initially, fortunately, it was still in the studio situation so I could be in a kind of wheelchair but it became more litter because we had a forest set with forest inside the sound stage. It was uneven on the ground so I couldn’t wheel or be wheeled in. They built a kind of stretch of base to the wheelchair so that four men could lift me into the forest. I would talk to the actors and then they’d lift me back out. So, it was like some Eastern traveler in Asia or in the nineteenth century being carried around in this sort of paladin. It was a difficult period. From there I moved, graduated to crutches then a walking stick. But in the end, adrenaline overcame any pain, despite even tablets there was always pain.
Zbigniew: There is some irony in making a movie about an escape when the director is sitting in the wheelchair.
Peter: Poetic justice. I was experiencing pain.
Zbigniew: You had been working everyday non-stop for sixteen hours, from what I’ve heard from the producers because of the challenges posed by the environment but also there was a time constraint in this project. Within several weeks you moved from cold climate to unbearable heat.
Peter: We went from Siberia, which was filming in Bulgaria to act the part of Siberia, then down to Morocco, which was playing the part of Mongolia and China, and then to India. Everything that the characters were experiencing, we did experience in this film, in terms of climate. It was more inspiring than difficult because the actors particularly enjoyed experiencing what the characters in the story really experienced. This was not a case of having computer generate imagery backdrops and shooting in an uncomfortable place. We were low-budget and we did it in the old way, which is if it had to be mountains, you went to mountains; desert, you went to desert.
We began filming in February of 2009. In the script it said the snow on the ground, it’s the late snow and there’s even a couple of late snowfalls just before spring, but in Bulgaria it’s gone; it’s usually November – December. Which had happened and there was no snow on the ground. Just a few days before filming, we got a very heavy fall. This was unusual.
The greatest moment with the weather, was in the Sahara. The day’s work was to be a sandstorm and so we had wind machines being set up and we were about to begin rehearsing and the announcement came from the location manager saying, “Everybody! Back to the trucks, quick. There’s a sandstorm coming.” And I said, “Well, we should film it.” And they said, “No, it’s too dangerous, you have to get in your vehicles.” So, we got in the vehicles and then watched the storm envelop the whole set and all our cars, howling just as it is in the movie. A second unit cameraman who refused to come back to the trucks shot some footage without actors and I was with him, I’m honored to say, and when it passed within twenty minutes we were all laughing at this coincidence. We knew then exactly what it should look like and the actors knew exactly how you would feel. We shot it very fast with our wind machines and sand thrown into them. So that was a remarkable coincidence.
Zbigniew: Your audience is probably not aware how hard it is to produce the film like that.
Peter: They shouldn’t know, no. It’s what happens back stage. It’s like the magician; you don’t want to know how he really brings the rabbit out of the hat.
Zbigniew: You went to Siberia to get a feeling of it, visited the camps to find out what sort of challenges nature presented to the prisoners.
Peter: The physical side of it was less interesting to me. It even dropped away from my thinking on that visit. Suffering of people interested me much more. I felt the power, the feeling of history. I am very responsive to places, even to physical objects. When we arrived in one Siberian town we went on a little tour . I asked “Where would they question people? Where was the NKVD headquarters?". The guide, almost reluctantly, took us finally to a scrap metal yard where they now break down motor cars for spare parts. The owner of it spoke with the guide and didn’t like it, but permitted us to go down into a basement below the yard. There was a quite large room, ten meters by four meters. It was full of junk of motor cars, and the guide said, “This room is where they shot people because it’s below ground and it was quiet and they could muffle the shots. Then the bodies were taken up into that yard into trucks and taken to a forest and buried.
We went to the forest and met an old man there who had become the guardian of these graves. There were several thousand dead Russians who’d been shot, mostly 1937 and 1938 during the terror. He had kept the secret until the end of the Soviet empire, when he could publicly come out and say, “This is where the bodies are.” We walked with that man through this forest, beautiful trees, and know that underneath your feet were all graves that had not yet been excavated;
So that was Russia for me and I saw locations. I saw the idea of what it needed to look like. It was easier to film in Bulgaria than in Russia because of the memories of those interviews and those visits. I hope I’ve got enough of it in the film, which isn't all about the Gulag system, it’s about an escape from the Gulag. I hope those veterans, those survivors, if they ever see the film, feel at least I attempted to do justice to what they’d experienced.
Then I went to Moscow and talked to survivors. I sensed in my conversation with them that feeling "You could never really capture what we went through. You will never get it on film, it’s too difficult".
Zbigniew: The Way Back is a story about the hunters and the hunted. In Stalin’s Soviet Union an entire society stood by watching crimes happen just as it was in Germany during the Second World War. That probably would come as something completely new to those who are not familiar with what happened behind the front lines in the Soviet Union.
Peter: It’s true, but I don’t know how many will say that. I think you can look at the film and you can see it purely as an escape story. Firstly it is a Polish story. It follows the central character, Janusz, who is a young man, a soldier who gets captured, and follows him right through to 1989 and the freedom that Poland attained. If you are interested, you would see this and hear these little subtle shadings that are in the story and it would lead you to read and know more. Again, tt’s not a story about the Gulag system, that’s for someone else to tell and hopefully Russian filmmakers will.
Zbigniew: In many of your films, you like to explore behavior of characters who try to survive in isolating situations. The Way Back talks about a group of foreigners who cross countries where they are being perceived as dangerous intruders. They have to avoid any kind of settlements, avoid any contact with the local population.
Peter: I think this is what makes the story so fascinating and what helped draw me to the subject, that they couldn’t get help from local people. We know from all conventional survival stories of World War II shot down pilots that you could hope on counting on somebody in occupied territory who would be sympathetic to you. So, for them, capture was death, more than likely. The local were offered a bounty if they turned you in or even killed you. These people had to survive outside of any material assistance and that gave the story its particular challenge.
Zbigniew: It’s the story of survival and relationships.
Peter: That’s true and you know I didn’t want to over dramatize this. You could say the challenge of a linear story of people escaping is that they’re either going to make it or not, and maybe only some of them will make it. I decided early on not to make it a story of pursuit, which is a perhaps more conventional way to go where you have, let’s say, an obsessed Russian commander who says, “I’m going to follow these people and bring them back". I could create all kinds of incidents along the way that were very dramatic, falling off a cliff etc. That kind of moment where the music crashes in, will they fall or will they not? I didn’t want to do that Perhaps it was a result of talking to survivors. I wanted to make it more endurance, more low-key, more just one foot after the other. Do you have the strength to go on? And make it to do with smaller threats like mosquitoes in Siberia. They can bite you so viciously and come in such swarms and clouds in the summer . Then I’ll make it to do with just food and water and the need of it and the threat that comes through not having that. What amongst the group, I’ll have them tell their stories in small excerpts, just no flashbacks but just that we’ll come to know what happened to them in the lead up to their arrest or something of the horror of this system would come through their recollections. They’re all scarred by this horrific secret police state of the Soviet Union was. They’ve all been injured in some way, mentally, by what was done to them. I wanted their stories to come out as they walked.
Zbigniew: Without revealing much of the script, there is one very special relationship, you talk about it in this film. One which makes your trip through life most rewarding and it’s the story of Janusz.
Peter: I think there is a theme in the film of forgiveness and I think that particularly relates to Janusz and his wife. It’s mentioned early on in the film. One of the most diabolical ideas in terms of interrogation that the Soviets had was to bring in a relative and threaten the relative and then threaten the subject. So, to the subject they’d say, in this case Janusz’s wife, has been interrogated. She has confessed that her husband is a spy and she’s brought in in front of him and says that he’s a saboteur. There are many accounts of this now, with that brief period the KGB files were opened. Janusz says in the film that his wife, “Will never be able to forgive herself.” He knows she was released, he’s in prison and that she will have broken her spirit to have informed on him and possibly caused his death. So it’s a driving force for him getting back home.
Zbigniew: There’s certain symbolism, at that the group of escapees from the camp is multinational. It’s almost as if you said, it’s hard but we have to pull through it. Is that your message to today’s world?
Peter: I avoid messages. I was intrigued by the range of nationalities within Soviet camps. I came across the name of an Australian woman which I really want to find out what happened to her; I have her name. She came from a suburb quite near me, where I live in Sydney. In the 1930’s she married a Soviet diplomat and moved back to Moscow with him and had two children and she was arrested and I came across her name in one of the camps. So , I was intrigued by this multinational mix of prisoners, mainly Russians, every kind of nationality including the conquered territories. I did, at times, think as though, as I was looking at the script, that I love when there’s a metaphor or a message built in inherently within it, you know you don’t put it there, it’s just there. So in this particular story there were a couple of wonderful metaphors that were just there, so I would leave it there because it would come out of its own volition. Life is a journey, so that’s there. It’s hard on that journey, you can make mistakes. Is it worth going on? Is it worth living? All of us feel that at times in our own lives, in modern life, in cities. You have to find a will to live and I think that’s what makes this story have a heavy weigh that was just within the story, I didn’t put it there. At times I think you feel, particularly in the desert where they’re wearing all kinds of shirts over their heads and trying to keep the sun off them, they become look almost biblical, almost Old Testament. As I was watching just the results of a day’s shooting one day, I thought, “They look like they’re looking for the promised land of freedom.” There again, accidentally there just arose.
Zbigniew: Some people did go through unimaginable suffering to find their way to freedom, and they still do.
Peter: They do and I feel deeply for them. I know that, as somebody who works in the media and film I would have been doing something as writer or a painter, I don’t know what. I would, in both the twin evils of the twentieth century, left and right, Nazism and Communism have been on their list. So, I would have been called up very early unless I conformed and I hope I would resist and would not comply with the instructions as to the kind of work you were meant to do. So I can't say I definitely would have been brave enough to say no, which would have resulted in an arrest. It doesn't take much imagining for me to put myself in the position of individuals in a police state.
Zbigniew: Some, especially in the West, look at the suffering of millions in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe from the armchair of the contemporary western viewer and say, “Well, no, this couldn’t have happened.” You say, “Yes, it did, I’ve seen it all with my own eyes. I went to the gravesite.”
Peter: I think I can say, yes I’m a witness, in some strange way. In my own country in Australia, if I talk about this subject, I realize how little reading they’ve done, how little they know of this period of history. I enjoy the fact that this story has this quality
Zbigniew: Have you noticed how few books were actually written by the soldiers who went to the front? How few books were written by those who were kept in the Gulag? We’re talking about millions of people who were imprisoned in them.
Peter: I find it difficult to understand the Western artists not writing, but in the Soviet Union now Russia, I understand because there were so many in the service of the state police, NKVD or KGB. Within your family, let alone a neighbor, there were people who are alive now who were informers, who sent people to their deaths. If you wrote your book and you were Russian, it’s quite probable you will have to face the fact that you are going to mention your cousin or your uncle or, god forbid, someone in your immediate family. Somebody, maybe the boss you work for or the publisher of the book. They don’t want this grave opened. They don’t want these files discussed. There were simply too many who were involved in the crime, There were no punishments issued. They probably couldn’t, because the whole country would stop. There’d be so many people on trial. The only way to speak about it is through films and books and maybe they have to be written by people outside the country.
Zbigniew: War survivors when they return home wish to be left alone and want to forget about what they have witnessed. When the war fatigue sets in, it’s much harder to get anything out of them. It takes a writer or a filmmaker, to talk about it, practically pull it out of them.
Peter: It’s true. You have to relive it. If you were a survivor of any kind of horrific experience, and we’re talking about maybe ten, twenty years in a Gulag where you did things you’re not proud of, inevitably. Maybe you took some food off someone, maybe you robbed a corpse, maybe you didn’t help someone who was dying that you could’ve helped. These things must have happened and did happen. So you don’t want to revive it, you want to forget it, but enough have. I think in literature it’s there in writing. I think Varlam Shalamov, the Russian writer who called his stories fiction,. What a writer and what an inspiration to me to read. Solzhenitsyn, from a more kind of factual base Gulag Archipelago, a fantastic read. They were two enormous figures and then you get them from Herling-Grudzinski in Poland, very, very influential. Going back to Russia there’s more, there’s women who’ve written. Poet’s Osip Mandelstam’s wife, Nadezhda Mandlestam wrote two books. So the writings are there, I think very little in film, but quite a bit of literature that is growing ever since the 1989.
Zbigniew: For many of us who were born behind the iron curtain, the second World War ended practically only in 1989, that’s one of the reasons why there was much information about what we were going through in the West. We just couldn’t reach the world with our story.
Peter: But there was a resistance. I worked with two who defected. In 1984, with Alexander Godunov, who was in my first American film, Witness. It was his first film, he’d retired from ballet and I cast him as a young Amish man; wonderful fellow, unfortunately now no longer alive. He told me his story of his defection, which I’d vaguely read in the newspapers, and reminded me of a Romanian I worked with in 1978 who had also defected, a novelist, young guy. They both told the same story, which was that in the west, essentially in America, they were not believed. When they told what was going on in their respective countries their American friends, who were mostly in the artistic world, more or less argued with them that it couldn’t be that bad or that somehow they’d been influenced by CIA counter-propaganda. Alexander said, the same as my Romanian friend Petru Popescu “I no longer have these conversations in America because I find people don’t believe me.” So I think many who were unhappy with the capitalist system and had no understanding of what it’s like to live in a police state, they didn’t do their thinking and their reading, kept a dream alive. That dream really was out of date. That dream goes back to 1917, of the new world, the utopia on earth. People’s dreams die hard, they’ll fight against you, treading on their dreams. I think that’s crazy, I think it’s best to be honest even if you’re disillusioned, but face facts.
Zbigniew: Do you remember your first reaction when you read the book by Rawicz? Did you look at it from the point of view of a Westerner who thinks, “Okay well, it’s a nice story but did it really happen?”
Peter: I didn’t doubt that it was true because it said on the cover it was a true story, so I believed that. My first question to the producer, but it was just by the way, “Of course it is true, right?” That was Joni Levin, the producer she said, “Well, there is some controversy and it dates back to the publication, in 1956. Some believe that part of the story, at least, was invented by the author; that he didn’t experience it. He may have heard about it but he didn’t live it.” I said, “Well, I don’t know that I can do the movie because I couldn’t possibly just, for the sake of doing a film, say it was true because, who cares? I care. If it isn’t true then I can’t do it.” I nearly withdrew from it. But I said, “If you can prove, or we can, with some research that this did happen, then lets get to work.” What we could get as evidence was that three men came out of the Himalayas who said they had walked from Siberia, escapees. The reason I know this, is that I’ve spoken to the sons of the British intelligence officer who interviewed them, mentioned in Rawicz’s book, and to the translator or the son of the translator, also mentioned in the book. Somebody did it so my film opens with a dedication to these three men, but then I changed the title from the book’s title and I changed the character’s names because I wanted to make then my work fiction based on research and whatever. So I avoided this question.
Zbigniew: Some films and books have impact on people that you cannot possibly predict. Did you hear about this group of three young Poles who decided to follow the film character’s path? They started in May 2010, hoping to reach India in eight months.
Peter: Influenced by the book?
Zbigniew: Influenced by the book, by the film too.
Peter: So, where did they start from, Siberia? Where did you say they are now?
Zbigniew: From Russia,, yes. Last time I checked, they were somewhere in Tibet. They’ve been walking for eight or nine months. They are practically writing their own book.
Peter: That’s wonderful.
Zbigniew: People are finding the key to the mysteries of life in the novel type of secular sources such as movies. Watching them could change our lives.
Peter: When you’re making something, if you’re lucky and you’re inspired you become a kind of a conductor of that inspiration. You don’t live with it, so you don’t really own inspiration. In a way, when someone says thank you, it was thank the system, the inspiration, rather than yourself. I know that sounds very Buddhist. When I am touched by a painting, a book, a film, if I get some illumination, some momentary understanding of something or even not understanding, but you’re touched by it and inside how grateful you are. It’s a worthwhile pursuit. Sometimes in my life I’ve thought, “Well, it’s a pretty frivolous profession. Even childish, even something only young people should do. I’ve lost the feeling for it, filmmaking, and then it’ll come back to me. Usually it’ll come back through watching someone’s good work, or brilliant work in a film then I’ll get inspired again.
Zbigniew: "The Way Back" is an independent made movie, which, I suppose, has made it more complicated finding financing. It was done outside of the Hollywood system.
Peter: The studios have no longer developed films of this type, what they call adult drama. As of the last few years they’ve gone toward what they call “tent poles”, films which, appeal to all ages, essentially, children I think. They can make sequels of them and they’re very much the struggle of good and evil in a very simplistic way. They’re very successful, there’s an audience that loves them. I think they really, in the rush to this kind of film like Avatar, which can generate billions of dollars. That it is such a gold rush that they’ve actually left those smaller mines, if I take the gold mining analogy, that still contain vast amounts of gold because they’re too small to operate. This was the adult drama with millions of people who’d want to see those films have not been catered to. So, there’s a hunger, I think, or a disillusion with what’s going on by a lot of people. They say, ”I never find anything I want to go and see anymore.” And that’s because of this gold rush and then when you come to the independent world is a deep conservatism because of a shortage of money, shortage of audience, they tend to follow trends and trusted genres. They’re interested at the moment in vampire films or some kind of comedies. An adult drama like this is really hard to find a place for, but I know the audience is out there.
Zbigniew: What is your opinion about apocalyptic themes in the recently produced movies? Are they made to attract more audience or perhaps it reflects our fears of everyday life?
Peter: I think the latter or maybe a little bit of each. I think the climate change debate, if it can be called a debate, it’s really hardly a debate because there’s a lot of shouting voices. I think there’s a lot of fear and some believe the best way to make humans change is to make them afraid. I don’t believe that myself, but that’s a very quick solution. I know a woman near me, and I live near the beach, who said that she’s thinking of selling her house. I said, “I thought you loved it there. You haven’t had it long.” She said, “Well, you know they say that there will be six meters of water with the melting of the icecaps within the next few years.” “Six meters?" - I responded- "You’re joking, that’s not true”. And she said, “Well, that’s what I read.” She’s one example, but there are people out there who think the sky is going to fall in any minute. On our television deliveries tragic news from around the world, we see every earthquake, we see every flood, countries and people that are suffering. I think it’s added to a feeling which has always been with us, this imminent feeling of the world ending.
Zbigniew: Does Hollywood have a recipe how to make good films? It seems to produce only mega dinosaur like films. Are they destined for extinction?
Peter: No, I think they’re adapting successfully. I don’t really have up-to-date figures on how they’re going, but cinema attendance is high but for less films. Until in the ‘90s, particularly in Europe, there was a feeling that non-English speaking cinema was really under sever threat because of American product. People still want to hear films in their own language and maybe that’s where the drama will survive in non-English speaking films. That will be our Greek manuscripts kept by the monks in the dark ages who preserved the glory of Greek drama. Perhaps they’ll keep the flame of drama alive in Europe or Asia, while we English speakers just entertain children.
Zbigniew: I liked your earlier comparison of film director to a climber. I don’t know if I told you that, but like many other of my contemporaries I wanted to be film director…
Peter: You did tell me that.
Zbigniew: A friend whom I filmed fell of the rock and died. I read it as an omen and dropped the idea of becoming a film maker. On the top of that my family was against it because some artists in my family didn't do too well. .What would you tell a parent whose child wants to become a film director?
Peter: I think I really would say the obvious, which is to give it a try, but I would be suspicious if the child said, “I want to be a film director.” It would be better if the child said, “I want to create things. I want to be an artist. I think it’s film, it might be literature, it might be acting. Because usually those ones who say, “I want to be a film director." often are interested in the position, to be the boss. There are film buffs who like Scorsese and Spielberg picked up a camera in their childhood and that was meant to be their calling. But for a lot of these people who write to me, it’s not that. I think it’s really that they just want to make a lot of money and be on the red carpet.
Zbigniew: German film director Werner Herzog recommended to his students long distance walks. He said that this would teach them much more life than studying at the film school.
Peter: Get out and live life, rather than reproduce life from other films. Walking and travel by ship, which of course is very hard to do today. That’s how you get stories in slow travel.
Zbigniew: Would you advise them to start walking?
Peter: (laughs) Take a walk and think about it, yeah. I think film directing is maybe something that happens to you, it did in my case. It wasn’t a goal in itself, it just evolved.
Zbigniew: Some day somebody’s going to write your biography as a filmmaker. I am sure that it will analyze every single subject that you choose to make a film about.
Peter: I hope they don’t write it and I don’t think it would be a very successful book because I’ve put the best in the films. In between the films I’ve just rested and read and looked for another one to do. I think my life is perfectly like anybody else’s, but it’s the movies that hopefully have the more interesting side.
Zbigniew: Thank you so much, Peter, we wish you success with this new projects.
"The Way Back" - official trailer