DIFF Daily 2010

Celebration of endurance in DIFF Gala

Dec 15,2010 - 12:19 PM

The Cinema Of The World programme strives to present the very best in contemporary global film annually and with the much-anticipated return of veteran Australian director Peter Weir to cinema screens with his brand-new feature ‘The Way Back’, marks its Gala with a true legend of international film. Weir will be joined by cast members Ed Harris, Colin Farrell and Jim Sturgess for the Red Carpet Gala this evening.

A tough, gripping story of suspense and endurance, based on a true story, ‘The Way Back’ transports us to World War II Europe, and into the lives of a group of plucky Polish soldiers, imprisoned in a Soviet gulag, deep in the icy wastes of Siberia. Escape seems impossible, and futile. Yet remarkably, a small band of determined POWs not only break out, but they manage to trek 3000 miles, over harsh terrain to sanctuary in India. Along the way, the men are tested to the very limits of endurance.

This real-life tale has been brilliantly realised by Weir, a veteran director celebrated for his penchant for exploring the interaction between characters and strange, unsettling environments, as anyone who has seen his 1975 classic ‘Picnic At Hanging Rock’ will recognise. “I would hope that younger directors would look at his work,” comments Sheila Whitaker, Programmer, Cinema of the World. “He’s a fascinating example of how you can go from the quirky horror of 1974 ‘The Cars That Ate Paris’ to major Hollywood success. But he’s achieved this on his own terms; he always picks his own projects and ploughs his own furrow.”

Describing the cast as ‘a fantastic ensemble’, Sheila Whitaker praises the production’s dynamic sense of tension and atmosphere. “It’s an extraordinary story, a story of resilience and survival - these prisoners travelled three thousand miles, ending up in India!”

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