|A Sense of Wonder: THE FILMS OF PETER WEIR
Co-Presented with LAAFTA (Los Angeles Australian
Film & Television Association)
"I like to think that people get their moneys worth [in
my films], that Ive entertained them
Theres this cartoon upon my wall
of an old lady at a ticket box window saying, I want my sense of wonder back.
I like that idea." Peter Weir.
A suburban Everyman finds that his entire life is a televised lie
an obsessed inventor tries to build an ice house in the jungle. A middle-class
lawyer discovers that he is the harbinger of the apocalypse
a trio of Victorian
schoolgirls vanish into thin air one beautiful summer day
The films of Australian
director Peter Weir are a breathtaking gallery of heroic visions and untold
mysteries, including PICNIC AT HANGING ROCK, GALLIPOLI, THE YEAR OF LIVING DANGEROUSLY,
THE MOSQUITO COAST, THE TRUMAN SHOW and his upcoming epic MASTER AND COMMANDER: THE FAR
SIDE OF THE WORLD. Like the Aboriginal caves that lurk beneath the surface of modern-day
Sydney in THE LAST WAVE, Weirs best films reveal a world of unseen wonders
and often terrors nestled within the life we only think we know.
Born in 1944 in Sydney, Weir grew up fascinated with comic books,
movie westerns and adventure serials: "I had very little interest in our
literature and history I always felt that the grand events and the grand adventures
lay outside this country. The image of that ship sailing out summed it up: the world lay
elsewhere," he once observed. After a stint in the mid-1960s selling real
estate like his father, Weir worked briefly in television, where he made his first short
"Count Vim," while acting in satirical, Python-esque stage revues on the side.
He directed the short feature HOMESDALE in 1971, followed several years later by THE CARS
THAT ATE PARIS and PICNIC AT HANGING ROCK. PICNICs international success played a
major part in the revival of the Australian film industry, and catapulting Weir into the
forefront of international cinema, where hes remained for the past three decades.
Were thrilled to welcome director Peter
Weir to the Lloyd E. Rigler Theatre at the Egyptian for the first major Los Angeles
Retrospective of his work including a special Sneak Preview of his upcoming film, MASTER
AND COMMANDER: THE FAR SIDE OF THE WORLD, soon to be released by 20th
Century Fox - !
Friday, November 7 7:30 PM
Special Sneak Preview Peter Weir In
MASTER AND COMMANDER: THE FAR
SIDE OF THE WORLD, 2003, 135 min., 20th Century Fox. Three-time Academy
AwardŽ directing nominee Peter Weir and OscarŽ winner Russell Crowe join
forces to create an epic, emotional adventure. Set during the legendary Napoleonic Wars,
Crowe is novelist Patrick OBrians Captain "Lucky" Jack
Aubrey, renowned as a fighting captain in the British Navy, and Paul Bettany is
ships doctor Stephen Maturin. Their ship, the Surprise, is suddenly attacked by a
superior enemy. With the HMS Surprise badly damaged and much of his crew injured, Aubrey
is torn between duty and friendship as he pursues a high-stakes chase across two oceans,
to intercept and capture his foe. Its a mission that can make his reputation
or destroy Lucky Jack and his crew. Discussion following with
director Peter Weir (schedule permitting).
Special Ticket Price of $25.00 General, $20.00
Students/Seniors and $15.00 Cinematheque Members for this show only.
Saturday, November 8 5:00 PM
GALLIPOLI, 1981, Paramount, 110 min.
Director Peter Weirs heartbreaking portrait of friendship during a time of
death and destruction stars Mel Gibson and Mark Lee as a pair of young
Australian soldiers during WWI whose intertwined destinies lead them to the bloodstained
trenches at Gallipoli. "In a sense the three acts of the film took
place in three deserts: the Australian desert, the Egyptian desert, then the desert of
Gallipoli and over each was that clear blue sky." Peter Weir.
Saturday, November 8 7:30 PM
PICNIC AT HANGING ROCK, 1975, Cowboy
Pictures, 115 min. With Rachel Roberts, Dominic Guard, Vivian Gray. Weirs
breakthrough film is a mesmerizing, open-ended mystery about three Australian schoolgirls
who suddenly vanish during a summer outing in 1900. To create an intoxicating, almost
dream-like state for the audience, Weir mixed the sound of earthquakes into the track, and
shot the film at varying camera speeds. "It was never of interest to me whether it
had happened literally or not
It was a metaphor of some kind for [author] Joan
Lindsay. People disappear. And what is it to be disappeared; to be neither
alive nor dead?" Peter Weir.
THE LAST WAVE, 1977, Cowboy
Pictures, 106 min. Director Peter Weirs haunting supernatural parable stars Richard
Chamberlain as a lawyer hired to defend an Aboriginal man accused of murder. As he
delves deeper and deeper into the case, Chamberlain starts experiencing hallucinatory
dreams and premonitions of a terrible impending disaster in which he plays a pivotal role.
"Most of my films have been left incomplete, with the viewer as the final
One is constantly left wondering and I love it when thats done to
me in a film." Peter Weir.
Sunday, November 9 4:00 PM
THE MOSQUITO COAST, 1986,
Warner Bros., 117 min. Working from a Paul Schrader script adapted from the Paul Theroux
novel, Peter Weir directs an uncompromising, complex character study of spiritual crisis
teetering over the brink into madness. Harrison Ford gives one of his finest
performances as an egocentric inventor determined to realize his utopian ideal in the
backwaters of Central America, even if it destroys his family (Helen Mirren is his
wife, River Phoenix his eldest son). A harrowing journey into a modern heart of
Sunday, November 9 6:30 PM
THE YEAR OF LIVING
DANGEROUSLY, 1982, Warner Bros., 117 min. Dir. Peter Weir. Mel Gibson is
Guy Hamilton, a complacent journalist in 1965 Indonesia whose life is upended when the
behind-the-scenes struggle between President Sukarnos forces, Islamic rebels,
communists and covert CIA operatives comes to an explosive head. Sigourney
Weavers performance as his diplomat lover is both intelligent and casually
sensual while Linda Hunt won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her transgender
portrayal of Billy Kwan, Gibsons mercurial, mysteriously wise cameraman.
WITNESS, 1985, Paramount, 112 min. Harrison
Ford shines in one of his best dramatic roles as a Philadelphia cop who hides out in
an Amish community and finds himself falling in love with widow Kelly McGillis.
"The visual look [of WITNESS] comes very much from Flemish and German
painting." Peter Weir.
Wednesday, November 12 7:30 PM
FEARLESS, 1993, Warner Bros., 122 min.
Dir. Peter Weir. Jeff Bridges is stunning as Max Klein, one of the sole survivors
of a catastrophic air crash, who suddenly becomes addicted to risking his life as he tries
to attach meaning to the randomness of fate. When he discovers that another survivor,
Carla (Rosie Perez, at her very best) has lost her child in the crash and is near
catatonic, he tries his devoted wifes (Isabella Rosselini) patience
attempting to pull the grieving mother out of her shell. With John Turturro, Tom Hulce.
THE TRUMAN SHOW, 1998,
Paramount, 103 min. Weirs brilliant satire of individual freedom vs. corporate
omnipotence stars Jim Carrey as a lovable Everyman who discovers his entire life
has been an elaborately staged television show, broadcast to a worldwide audience of
billions. Ed Harris co-stars as the visionary, megalomaniac director who has
created Trumans life in god-like fashion. "I would have loved to have had a
video camera installed in every theatre the film was to be seen. At one point the
projectionist would cut the power and could cut to the viewers in the cinema, then back to
the movie!" Peter Weir.