Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Darrel Manson

Peter Weir films

Recommended Posts

I saw 4 (maybe I missed some): Master and Commander, The Truman Show, Witness, and The Year of Living Dangerously. Good showing for a single director. (Anybody do an analysis?) And we didn't even have Dead Poets Society on the original list?

Truman and Witness are likely on my ballot. Maybe YoLD (Been long time since I've seen it. Maybe I can find it nearby before voting). M&C not likely.


A foreign movie can't be stupid.

-from the film
Armin

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Fearless is on there as well. I'll be voting for it.

Oh, and The Last Wave was voted out. 8O


[iNSERT SIGNATURE HERE]

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

YoLD and Witness are solids for me, now that I think of it. Not the fan of Truman others are and am ambivalent for these purposes in addition.


"During the contest trial, the Coleman team presented evidence of a further 6500 absentees that it felt deserved to be included under the process that had produced the prior 933 [submitted by Franken, rk]. The three judges finally defined what constituted a 'legal' absentee ballot. Countable ballots, for instance, had to contain the signature of the voter, complete registration information, and proper witness credentials.

But the panel only applied the standards going forward, severely reducing the universe of additional basentees the Coleman team could hope to have included. In the end, the three judges allowed about 350 additional absentees to be counted. The panel also did nothing about the hundreds, possibly thousands, of absentees that have already been legally included, yet are now 'illegal' according to the panel's own ex-post definition."

The Wall Street Journal editorial, April 18, 2009 concerning the Franken Coleman decision in the Minnesota U.S. Senate race of 2008.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Okay, this is absurd. But I really love THE YEAR OF LIVING DANGEROUSLY, and I think it's absolutely saturated with quintessential Peter Weir stuff about the tensions and conflicts between two worlds (his constant theme, especially in the first half of his career) - in this case, the material world and the spiritual world.

So what's absurd? A 5000 word post on the film.

This is the first draft of something that needs drastic cutting. But I don't have time to edit it down for y'all, nor do I have another place to post it. So, in case this reminds anybody of the film's riches, and thereby prompts them to vote for it, here goes...

LOADED WITH SPOILERS

*

THE YEAR OF LIVING DANGEROUSLY

What then must we do?

1965. A time of violent political turmoil in Southeast Asia. Indonesian President Sukarno has declared this "the year of living dangerously," and as Australian journalist Guy Hamilton steps off the plane to face his first overseas assignment, a tall white man confronted with Jakarta in all its threat and strangeness. Watchful soldiers with automatic weapons. Uniforms everywhere, Asian faces, unintelligible language. Hand-scrawled posters; Go to hell. U.S. Out. CRUSH British and U.S. Imperialism. And a strangely-inflected, almost croaking narrator comments, "You're an enemy here Hamilton, like all Westerners. President Sukarno tells the West to go to hell. And today, Sukarno is the voice of the Third World."

Soon we will meet the owner of that voice, a half-Chinese, half-Australian photographer named Billy Kwan who takes the new journalist under his wing and offers a partnership: "That's what I've always wanted, a real partnership... We'll make a great team old man. You for the words, me for the pictures. I can be your eyes."

But who is this Billy Kwan? And what is the real nature of their relationship, which forms the heart of the film? Kwan is the first character we meet, even before Hamilton touches down, a curiously small man who must reach up from his chair to methodically type information about the new man into some sort of file. He secures a partnership with the Australian journalist by instantly procuring an exclusive interview with the head of the Communist Party. A dwarf, neither Western nor Asian, he seems outside the inner circle of foreign journalists who gather at the Wayang bar, as he seems an outsider in every context we see him in. Yet he apparently has access everywhere, information about everyone, and can move through the dangerous streets of Jakarta unharmed and unnoticed.

If there is mystery about Billy's political intentions, there is also something about the personal aspect of this friendship which makes us increasingly uneasy. He seems too eager to win Hamilton's friendship, and when he wonders whether Hamilton might be "the unmet friend," we have the sense that this isolated little man is trying to fit the newcomer into some personal mythology he has created

Edited by Ron

I've posted a couple hundred of my Soul Food Movies write-ups at letterboxd

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ron,

Jave you read the essay / chaper on Peter Weir in Explorations in Theology & Film

Personally I voted for M&C, and Witness, but not Truman. I know there's a lot of hype about truman in Christian circles, but it doesn't really do anything for me.

Matt

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

First, The Truman Show:

Here's an excerpt of a lengthier piece I wrote on the flick--not so much a review as a testimony of the effect the film had on me--and why I'll be voting for it.

An entire human life, from the womb and onward, recorded and broadcast via satellite to an audience around the globe.

Have you seen it?

I was devastated, every muscle in my body shaking and rigid with effort from trying to hide it from my fellow moviegoers. Right there in the darkened anonymity of the final bastion of storytelling culture, the movie house.

[aside] Holden Caulfield remarked in Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye some choice words about the movies. The adjective I cannot repeat due to, shall we say, colorful eloquence, but the final statement of the book goes something to the effect of:

”The G*dda*n movies…they’ll ruin you.”

I understand this intimately. My surrogate parents were famous—and they’d never even met me, but I knew them. I’d seen them larger-than-life, filling the screen in epic proportion, blazing the trail for me to follow into the distant future, into distant lands—into galaxies far, far away…my sources of emulation. Of ambition. Of inspiration. Of validation. And, arguably, the wellspring of the greatest source of disillusionment and struggle I have ever come to war against in my entire brief existence.[/aside]

So there sit I, wracked with spasms of sobs, as the prow of Truman’s sailboat remains firmly lodged in the wall of the horizon.

He’s broken through.

He was right.

Despite all reason, all rationale, all common sense, all trust in the temporal veracity of his given circumstances, despite his overwhelming phobia of the sea, Truman has sailed to the horizon—and his search for the truth is answered there, in cracked blue plaster, crumbling about the nose of his weathered vessel.

I’ve spent most of my life feeling as though the cameras are rolling. At times, of course, they have been, and I flourish in my environment, coming into my own with the unbridled joy of my profession. But those times are infrequent and capricious, and as such considered a random blessing amongst my way stations on this earth.

But that other quality—the quality of feeling observed—this is not as random, nor infrequent. This is a near-constant shadow of accountability of numinous nature, that which is outside of myself, and all-seeing, all-knowing—and recording.

If I didn’t know any better, I’d say I was paranoid.

But then Peter Weir throws this thing up on the screen and says Looky Looky!

And my boat runs into the skyline.

The expected parallel now, that of faith in God versus faith in man, the drawing of attention to the indomitable human spirit which must question until the truth be pried squealing from the darkened hole of the innate—

Instead, I sit back and say, “Where am I really going with this, Lord?”

In the Truman Show, his entire life is put to tape for the world to see.

Every experience.

Every discovery.

Every embarrassment.

Every weakness.

Every secret.

His entire life.

And he is blithely unconscious of the observation. He goes about his life from day to day until the unthinkable happens: a star drops out of the sky and hits the street in front of his house.

It’s a stage light. And, if I remember correctly, it’s labeled Sirius.

Serious, indeed.

For now, the seed is planted, and the first question is asked:

What is that?

Then,

Where did it come from?

Followed by,

How did it get there?

And immediately,

How did it get here?!?

Which leads to:

Who is responsible for this?

No, Truman didn’t say any of these things. But I don’t believe I’m being overly gracious when I say Jim Carrey let us in on it with his eyes.

The seed is planted.

His entire life…ultimately under scrutiny.

The film hit me so hard because I know I’m not far off in that respect. I know my life is under scrutiny. I know that every single action I perform, whether public or private, whether noble or even perverse, every deed shall be brought into the open, and not a single, solitary action of mine will go unnoticed. And this is not a sense of benign numinosity--it is an innate understanding that the presence viewing me has an active interest in what I'm doing in my day to day life.

And Weir—consciously or not, dowsed directly into that wellspring within my heart of hearts.

Weir has a penchant for celebrating the indomitability of the human spirit, but not only this--his desire to seek and to question the deeper things, the sub-dermal, more visceral layers beneath and above this reality. The spiritual implications are readily apparent in several of his works (which I'll go more into with Fearless) and Truman (true man) is no exception.

Fearless, for me, is his greatest work--but the Truman Show strikes such a resonance in me that I thump my head on the table with a grin repeating Darn you, Pete, how did you know, how did you know???


[iNSERT SIGNATURE HERE]

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am still stuck on Picnic at Hanging Rock and The Mosquito Coast. The former because it is brilliant, the latter because it deals with something explicitly Christian. Coming from a Christian background with a heavy emphasis on mission, this film forced me to start thinking about what it actually means for one person to find a tiny micro-culture miles away from any paved road and try to change the way they see things.

Master and Commander was such a let down for me because it is by far the most pedestrian of his films. Throughout the whole production I could picture Weir in that hat at the helm of this incredible story. But then the film just plays like an incredible story. Not a Weir story, but a great few hours of nautical fancy.

I can't believe The Cars That Ate Paris didn't cut the mustard for this list. There has to be something spiritual about that film somewhere. Something about commercial society eating itself away or something.


"...the vivid crossing of borders between film and theology may save the film from the banality of cinema and festival business, and it may also save the church from the deep sleep of the habitual and the always known."

(Hans Werner Dannowski)

Filmwell | Twitter

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Can somebody point me to a thread with more serious discussion on Picnic at Hanging Rock. The film bothers me and I want to discuss it more.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here you go, Dan.

And here's an even older thread on the film (the embedded link inside our current thread no longer works, but I did a little digging).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I wouldn't mind talking about it more as well. I recently watched Year of Living Dangerously and The Last Wave, two truly great films. The Last Wave seems to deal with some of the same things that Picnic at Hanging Rock does, but in a much more contemporary setting. This time he brings together a Australian tribal mysticism and the colonial British judicial system with some of the same odd results.


"...the vivid crossing of borders between film and theology may save the film from the banality of cinema and festival business, and it may also save the church from the deep sleep of the habitual and the always known."

(Hans Werner Dannowski)

Filmwell | Twitter

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ron, I just watched A Year of Living Dangerously, and searched for a thread on the film.

I found your review on the film which I believe you wrote in April 2004. It was most helpful and gave me insights into the characters, especially Billy, that I had not seen.

Thank you!

Sara

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Witness has gone? Has sense prevailed? lol.


We are part of the generation in which the image has triumphed over the word, when the visual is dominant over the verbal and where entertainment drowns out exposition. We may go so far as to claim that we live in an age of the image which is also the age of anti-word and potentially is the age of the lie. ~ Os Guiness

So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God (Romans 10:17)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

ALL of Weirs films have been dropped, slapped down and cast off like an aging mistress.

"You were spiritual once, my dear. Truly."

-------

Edited by Jason Bortz

[iNSERT SIGNATURE HERE]

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Perhaps my greatest sorrow of the new list. I'll grant he was overrepresented before, but...


A foreign movie can't be stupid.

-from the film
Armin

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I just watched "Fearless." I don't know when I have been so moved.

And the music - they played Gorecki's 3rd Symphony (Sorrowful Songs) at the end and all the time the credits rolled. I sat there until the last bit of the credits ended because this music is so powerful and expressed the heart and depth of the movie - and did so better than any words could have.

The whole experience of "Fearless" was beautiful. I find it hard to believe it is no longer on our top 100.

Sara

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Weir to steer Depp pic

Peter Weir will direct "Shantaram," the Warner Bros. adaptation of the Gregory David Roberts novel that will star Johnny Depp.

Weir will develop the script with Eric Roth. WB hopes to begin production late next year.

Pic is being produced by Initial Entertainment Group's Graham King along with Depp's Infinitum Nihil banner and Plan B's Brad Pitt.

When negotiations are complete, Weir -- who last directed Russell Crowe in "Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World" -- will take on a tale with the political and wartime tensions reminiscent of his early efforts like "The Year of Living Dangerously" and "Gallipoli."

Protag is an Australian heroin addict who escapes a maximum-security prison and reinvents himself in India as a doctor in the slums of Bombay. His attempt to find medicine for his destitute patients leads him into counterfeiting, gunrunning and smuggling. . . .

Variety, November 30


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
...Weir will develop the script with Eric Roth. ... will take on a tale with the political and wartime tensions reminiscent of his early efforts like "The Year of Living Dangerously" and "Gallipoli."

Protag is an Australian...

Oooh! I'm very excited. Weir's involvement in the screenplay, the Australian element, the possibility that it harks back to those earlier works in some way... Very, very good news.


I've posted a couple hundred of my Soul Food Movies write-ups at letterboxd

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

By the way, SHANTARAM now has its own thread.


I've posted a couple hundred of my Soul Food Movies write-ups at letterboxd

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Finally, after six years, Peter Weir is making another film. The Way Back, based on the true story of POW's who escape their Russian captors and set off on a journey across Siberia, the Gobi desert, and the Himalayas.

Story here.


Formerly Baal_T'shuvah

"Everyone has the right to make an ass out of themselves. You just can't let the world judge you too much." - Maude 
Harold and Maude
 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Way Back looks like a promising project.

What I truly want from Weir, however, is another Master and Commander film. I still rank it as one of the top three or four movies of the last decade. Everything about it was right: the thrilling plot, the subtle dialogue, the tremendous performances, the look and feel of life at sea that no other film has ever captured so authoritatively, the white hot burn of combat.

There is so much more material that Weir could mine for a second (or even third) film, and both Russell Crowe and Paul Bettany signed a sequel clause, IIRC (though these days, tons of people sign sequel clauses that go unused). It would be fun to see if any of O'Brien's land-based stories could be thrown into the mix.

Sigh...this is the mere fantasizing of a fan, I know. But the possibility has been ringing in my mind since fall 2003 when I saw the original.


-"I... drink... your... milkshake! I drink it up!"

Daniel Plainview, There Will Be Blood

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...