After the seafaring epic Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World (2003) resulted in his fourth Best Director nomination at the Academy Awards, the native of Sydney, Australia was linked to four different projects that did not materialize. Then in July of 2008 word was announced that Peter Weir was adapting and directing Slavomir Rawicz’s memoir The Long Walk: The True Story of a Trek to Freedom. After struggling to secure the necessary $30 million outside of the Hollywood studio system, the renamed World War II prison escape and survival picture The Way Back brings Weir’s seven year hiatus to a close with a worldwide release on January 21st. Colin Farrell (In Bruges), Ed Harris (Pollack), and Jim Sturgess (21) play three prisoners who escape a Siberian labour camp in 1940, and befriend a young Polish girl portrayed by Saoirse Ronan (Atonement).
To commemorate the return of Peter Weir to the big screen, Flickering Myth has put together a two-week retrospective honouring the man and his work. We will begin with his feature debut The Cars That Ate Paris (1974) and conclude with the acclaimed director’s latest offering The Way Back. Providing an extra dimension of understanding of the filmmaker and his movies are two of Weir’s frequent collaborators; both Oscar-winning cinematographer Russell Boyd and two-time Academy Award-nominated film editor Lee Smith agreed to be interviewed about their fellow countryman. Their insights have been divided into a series of articles which will be dispersed throughout the blogathon.
“I like to think that people get their money’s worth, that I’ve entertained them, because I belong to that tradition of entertainer and storyteller,” remarked Weir regarding his moviemaking philosophy. “There’s this cartoon upon my wall of an old lady at a ticket booth saying ‘I want my sense of wonder back.’ I like that idea. It’s a desire to feel that sense of not knowing, that sense of danger and potential interlocked. It’s very difficult to achieve, but the screen is one of the few places where it is possible.”
Whether or not The Way Back provides the vehicle for the Australian filmmaker to be presented with the Oscar for Best Director remains to be seen, however, in the meantime we hope you enjoy our retrospective of the remarkable career of Peter Weir.
The Cars That Ate Paris
Picnic at Hanging Rock
The Last Wave
Picture Perfect: A conversation with cinematographer Russell Boyd
The Year of Living Dangerously
The Mosquito Coast
Cutting Edge: A conversation with film editor Lee Smith
Dead Poets Society
The Truman Show
The Weir Way: Russell Boyd and Lee Smith Talk About Peter Weir
Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World
The Way Back
Master and Commander: Peter Weir Returns with The Way Back
Director Peter Weir discusses The Way Back:
To start things off, be sure to check out the career profile Peter Weir: A Weir View and visit our blogathon homepage here.
Trevor Hogg is a freelance video editor and writer who currently resides in Canada.