Peter Weir

Weir, Peter (wēr) [key], 1944–, Australian film director, b. Sydney. His early work helped to bring Australian film to world attention; his later films, made in Hollywood, mingle American movie technique with the style of European art films. Weir's vivid and varied work often deals with clashing cultures and ideals. His films include Picnic at Hanging Rock (1975), a brooding turn-of-the-century tale involving the disappearance of Australian schoolgirls; Gallipoli (1981), a drama of idealistic young Australians fighting a bloody, pointless World War I battle; and The Year of Living Dangerously (1983), a story of love and political intrigue in Sukarno's Indonesia. Among his later films are the dramas Witness (1985) and Dead Poets Society (1989); the comedy Green Card (1990); The Truman Show (1998), his most commercially successful work, which tells of a man whose life is the subject of a hit television show without his knowing it; the early 19th-century swashbuckler Master and Commander (2003), based on Patrick O'Brian's novels; and The Way Back (2011), a tale of an escape from the Soviet gulag and the harrowing trek to freedom.

See M. Haltof, Peter Weir: When Cultures Collide (1996), J. Rayner, The Films of Peter Weir (1998), and M. Bliss, Dreams within a Dream: The Films of Peter Weir (2000).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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