tv Charlie Rose PBS June 21, 2013 11:00pm-12:01am PDT
>> rose: welcome to the program. tonight, actor terence stamp. his new film is called "unfinished song." >> the camera conveys it to the audience and it reminds the audience of what in them that is looking, of what in them that is listening so there's -- there's an empathy that comes with nonseparation. you don't feel separate. what's separate when you're watching a great actor on screen you know? you're not separate.
>> rose: we conclude with director ziad doueiri. his new film is called "the attack". >> basically, her profile does not match any profile of what you would consider typical suicide bomber. she didn't come from a refugee camp, she's not muslim, not veiled. which which is the whole intrigue. how could a woman who has that back ground commit such a horrific act. so which is what propel it is protagonist, amin ja'afari to understand why. why could you see it coming? how can you be married to somebody for 15 years and never know what was going on? >> rose: terence stamp and director ziad doueiri when we continue.
captioning sponsored by rose communications from our studios in new york city, this is charlie rose. >> rose: terence stamp is here. he has been a movie star for-- get this-- 50 years. in 1962 he made his feature film debut as a the title character in billy budd and he was nominated for an academy award.
since then he was played everything from a villain in superman to a transsexual in "the adventures of priscilla, queen of the desert." here is a look at just some of his work. >> if i found my tongue i would not but he lied foully in my face and i had -- well, i had to say something! but i could only say it with the blow. god help me. >> i come here for you. i've come to take you home. come, madam. do you hear me? >> i win! i always win. is there no one on this planet to even challenge me? may i say it's been an honor to meet a gentleman.
believe me, bob, these days gentlemen are an endangered species. >> these creatures keep breeding like rabbits. can't be too careful, you know. >> excuse me? >> tea leaves, thieves. terry valentine. do you know? >> who are you? >> wolfson. my name's wolfson. you cannot show it to the laker girls. keep mr. weanie in the pants. always in the pants. i know you want to show it to the laker girls, but you must never show it to the laker girls. within 50 years you've brought us world war i, the depression, fascism, the holocaust and capped it off by bringing the entire planet to the brink of destruction in the cuban missile crisis. at that point a decision was taken to step back in again before you did something that even we couldn't fix you don't
have free will, david. you have the appearance of free will. >> rose: what say you, sir? >> (laughs) >> rose: well done, i say. >> that's a good run, wasn't it? is. >> rose: listen to this. this is just a quote from one who had looked at your life. "famous for his roles in billy bud, the collector, more recently the limey and the adventures of priscilla, queen of the desert, terence stamp was one of the most recognizable faces of 1960s london. he dated bridgette bardo and julie christie, he worked with fellini, he appeared in superman 2 and spent a lengthy sabbatical in india." is this an interesting life or not? >> and it was! >> rose: and is. >> and is. >> rose: it's just great to have you here. >> thanks, charlie. >> rose: i want to talk about what you do but let's talk about
this movie. you chose this because you could afford to choose because of the wonderful venn necessary a redgrave? >> yes, yes. i've worked with her in the theater and it had an extra dimension to it because i turned down the great josh logan who begged me to play the king in "camelot." >> rose: because you feared that you could not sing. >> i didn't think i could do the score well enough. i thought i'd be revoiced. so i turned it down. so i turned it down for the wrong reasons. >> rose: and you later realized you could. >> well, when i heard richard i thought i could have done it as good as that, you know? with all due respect to him but -- so then when i heard she'd been signed and she was playing the wife and my character's name was arthur and i had to sing i just felt the inverse was giving me a -- the universe was giving
me a second chance. >> rose: so you got to sing. now, do you at a moment say "damn, i should have done more singing in my career"? >> no, no, no. because i've done it now. >> rose: you just wanted to do it once? >> yes, exactly. >> rose: so what's the story? this is the story about two elderly people, one who's dying of cancer and one-- played by you-- who is her protector. >> but it's been like what i think of as a twin soul relationship and what made it unusual was that they're ordinary so it's two ordinary people who've been kind of elevated by the love they have for each other. >> rose: elevated. >> yes. you know, they've never wanted anybody -- >> rose: had something special because they had each other. >> yes. and it's brought out the best in each of them. and he's about to lose her. she's terminally ill and he's
only ever had an affection for her. he's very -- he doesn't have love for anybody else. so he's facing a life without the object of his love and for me that was a wonderful -- wonder informal itself but what was intriguing was that he -- in the second part of the movie he's a man who finds his own voice. >> rose: literally. >> literally but also symbolically because he's -- he understands that the love that he feels for her is within him and it's actually independent of -- >> rose: now wait a minute, slow down. the love he feels for her is within him. meaning that he appreciates -- the idea of loving her -- >> comes from him. >> rose: comes from him. it's something that -- and that's something that's good from him? >> yes, but he doesn't
understand. he think it's dependent on her and when she's not there he understands that the love is still there for him to direct -- >> rose: somewhere else. >> yeah. >> rose: so the love is within him. so he has a spring of love and he has to find another receptacle? >> well, he kind of understands that the best of himself is within himself. so in that sense he finds his own voice. >> rose: an important lesson to learn, i would assume. >> i would think so. >> rose: you have to understand within yourself is power and love and -- you don't need somebody else to -- somebody can help you find it. >> they can help you find it, but once you've found it, you know, i mean, i think we've all been careless with our heart haven't we, charlie? >> (laughs) yes, we have. yes, we have. yes, we have. take a look at this. that is clip from "unfinished song" in which arthur goes to talk to his son james.
here it is. >> hello, son. >> what do you want? >> i thought we could have a chat. i -- i know it's difficult. i understand you're cross. it's just i'm missing your mother. >> just come around to tell me that? >> well, i'm missing you as well >> what am i supposed to make of you? every time i see you i don't know what it is i've done or not done in my life to make you so disappointed. i've achieve sod many things, so many good things, but you're always disappointed. why can't you be proud? >> i am proud. >> you never thought once to tell me.
>> well, i tell everybody. >> why don't you tell me? >> i'm trying now. >> i'm still trying to cope with my mum. >> maybe i can help. >> it's too late for that. it's too late. >> my first old age pensioner. >> rose: (laughs) nice dialogue there, wasn't it? >> yeah, that was good script. >> rose: who wrote the script? >> paul andrew williams, the director. >> rose: and what's the significance of the song? >> i guess the significance of the song is that people are
hearing it kind of other than him, other than her. he's singing -- i guess it's -- it's symbolic, you know, that he kind of finally understands that by just being nasty to everybody other than her he's moving away from like the love, harmony, and beauty within himself. so when he sings, obviously it's for her but it's being listened to by everybody. >> rose: what was your relationship with your father? >> my relationship with my father was exactly like that. my dad was in the merchant navy in world war ii, he was torpedoed three times. when the war finished he came home, he was gray and the grace, i think, had been kind of eroded
from him. >> rose: the grace? >> yes, the natural -- he had a natural grace. he was very good looking guy and he was funny. >> rose: and war took its toll? >> yeah, i think it took its toll on a lot of men of that generation, you know? because i think -- it's always struck me as rather unnatural for man to kill another man, you know? and whether you do it or whether you see it, it takes its toll on you and it was so -- there's a lot of boys grew up without being hugged by their dad, without being touched by their dad. and that was my experience, you know? so i kind of -- i've been pretty base wick my dad but i thought if i get in trouble i'll think about tom. i'll think what tom would have done and so in that scene it was kind of easy because i was the father and the son, you know? >> rose: and until his death you
didn't -- did you hear him say it? >> there was one thing, there was only really one thing, the great joy of my life was that i had been for like the first 25 years of my fame so i was able to really give them and show them and let them know what they'd done for me as it were. and i never really -- he never really praised me, he never complimented me, he never talked about what i was doing. but in my kind of a middle years when i was up against it and i was kind of selling things to get money for the week and i was asked to go to rome to meet some people and they gave me a ticket and i went down to see my folks to tell them i'm going to be away for a couple weeks, i'm going to rome. my mother said "oh, you got a job?" i said "i haven't got a job,
i've got an interview and a ticket." "oh, oh." i said "it's a cheap ticket but it's a good trip." and my mother later told me that when i left my dad said "listen, ethel, get some money out of the bank, he shouldn't be traveling in the back." >> rose: put him up front. >> yes. >> rose: that's love. that's love. >> yes, exactly. exactly. so that was very heartwarming for me. it was near the end of his life but at least i had that knowledge: >> it is such fundamental narrative of -- certainly father/sons, i think. i'm not sure it's the same with daughters, i don't know. but -- i was an only child so i had the benefit of a rushing of love and i'm sure it shaped me in some way but i've heard this
story a thousand times. a thousand times. >> sure. >> rose: a father "i knew he loved me but he didn't tell me. i knew he cared but --" and some of it is men get caught up in their work and they -- and women as well. especially with more women in the work force. but you would think that at some point we'd all get wiser. but it goes every generation. >> my friends who are fathers i'm -- make me rather kind of envious because i can -- i see men of my generation being wonderful with their sons and mindful of how wonderful it must be and i'm mindful of how i would have been had i had the love of a father. but i had more than enough for from my mother because, you know behind every successful man, they say, is a forceful woman
which was certainly case in my case. but i think that that general rigs generation -- i get it a lot when i go out and i do little talks with the audience after the movie. i get so many men that say that and i think it was the kind of generation thing that it was somehow sissy to kind of show your emotions in some way and -- >> rose: yeah, i mean -- and it's -- that's fit isn't it? it's strength to be able to show your emotions. >> yeah, exactly. there's not a guys who would contribute to that. >> rose: what wouldn't you do over? >> what wouldn't i do? >> rose: uh-huh. >> i wouldn't have turned down "camelot." >> rose: of course not. but you don't have any problems
with your career, do you? >> no, i always say i'd try anything once except incest and moorish dancing. >> rose: (laughs) >> you mean arthur murray dancing? >> no, morris dancing you know who the handkerchiefs. and i have. so there's nothing i have -- there's nothing i wouldn't. even my mistakes, even hard times i've really benefited from you know? my mother used to say these things are sent to try us. and i didn't understand it for a long time. but when i saw her overcome, live through troubles she was kind of empowered by it, you know? >> rose: what had been the hardest times? >> oh, i think bringing up five kids on 12 pounds a week. cooking three meals a day everyday, ding all of the house work, laundry. >> rose: when did you do this? >> no, her.
>> rose: oh, her! >> going out and being a barmaid between children, it was a tough life. i didn't have a tough life. when i went to drama school i was poor so i couldn't work and go to drama school so i had to wayne scholarship and so they -- i won a scholarship, they gave me free training but they also gave me eight pounds a month to live on. so i was quite hungry in those days and there was a rumor amongst the girls at the drama school-- not completely untrue-- that stamp was anybody's for a bowl of soup and a boiled egg. >> rose: (laughs) give the boy soup and he'll give you love, is that what it was? >> absolutely. feed him and he's yours. >> rose: do what you want. (laughs) >> absolutely. >> rose: nothing wrong with that
is it? >> no, i don't think so. >> rose: was acting the only thing you ever wanted to do? >> i saw gary cooper when i was four. i saw beau jest, that was my first movie. who better to mold your life on. >> classic look. >> he was a prince, wasn't he? there was an otherness about him. >> rose: a what? >> an otherness. >> rose: yes, yes. he kind of embodied some kind of transcendence and as he was from kind of english stock when i got to be about 12 or 13 i just -- i was more -- i was mature and i was crazy about him. and then i saw marlon, you know? >> but what is it about marlon? he took a-to-another place? >> he was the best cinema actor that ever lived, you know?
>> rose: still is? >> yeah. >> rose: in other words you look back at what he did on film and you can't find anybody who did it better? >> i can't think of anybody who had that variation and that riveting and that kind of you had to look at him, that presence the male beauty of the young marlon. >> rose: exactly. and as you know i had the good fortune to know him reasonably well and it was fascinating to me i could never get them to the table to talk but actors only will understand this because you can see what he's doing there's the magic about him the whole thing, the voice, the look. but also it had to do with some internal skills he had, yes? that he trained >> i talked to him on -- i talked to him on the set and on the first day --
>> rose: (laughs) >> he was traveling with two girls, you know? they were rather beautiful, they were sort of filipino or something and he came up to me and he said "see those two girls?" i said "yeah." he said "they want your (bleep)." i said "what about your (bleep)?" he said "no, they've had mine." >> rose: (laughs) >> so i was very impressed by somebody that i recognized the greatness of him that he was so modest and to be present with anybody, you know? and so i asked him -- when i got to know him a little bit better i said to him what is it? you bring a box in and you say that's me and, you know, i'll be over there -- why do you do this kind of stuff? and he told me, he said that when he first starts a movie his
first day he said i invest myself in the take and if the director asked know do another one i don't try after that. so it's marlon, right? i've got it from marlon to mouth so i'm thinking yeah, i understand what he means, i invest myself in the take. that's what i do, i invest myself in the take. i'm empty but i'm not vacant. i'm present but i'm empty. and that's -- that's what i consider investing myself in a take so when i was talking to marlon, talking on screen with him, but the 12 days i intent him on set with him was some of
the best most rich experiences i've had, really. because it kind of -- it kind of reassured me that what i'd been trying for all these years was i was on the right path. >> exactly! on the right path. i was just thinking about that. you can come away with that saying "i'm getting somewhere. i know i'm on the right path. i know i can see how it goes from here to here to here to here." >> yeah, but he's talking about that part of us that's already perfect, you know? so seeking is a movement away from it you know? so marlon was about being -- he was kind of operating with the energy of presence, you know? and that's -- that's what i'd learned, what i picked up through my time in the east, you know? >> rose: what was that time in the east about? >> it was about being forgotten
at the end of the '60s. it was about the phone never ringing and just being dumped like when the see 60s ended i kind of ended with it. >> rose: you were how old then? >> i was -- 32, 33. i was still good looking! i was still in good shape, you know what i mean? and the phone just stopped ringing and there was no real reason except that i was so identified with the '60s. but when it ended i kind of ended with it. i'd call my agent i'd say "i've heard about this great script." "oh, yeah, they're looking for a young terence stamp." >> rose: (laughs) i'm 32. >> yeah. and rather than face the day to day, moment to moment disappointment of the phone not ringing i traveled. and when i hit india i thought, wow, this is -- this is okay. i can pick up a few things here. >> rose: so you just traveled and learned and absorbed and -- >> yeah, yeah.
>> rose: drank deeply of the experience. >> yeah. and when the call came i'd somehow transformed from psychologically -- i no longer thought of myself as a leading man. i thought of myself as an actor. >> rose: as a character actor? >> yeah, character actor. and that made me fearless. >> rose: fearless? >> so i could do anything, there was nothing i couldn't do. once i'd given up the idea of this persona, you know? >> rose: i know people who could don't that and their career suffered, you know? they couldn't accept the idea of themselves as not the leading man, as not getting the woman. >> yeah. a friend of mine-- and an old teacher of mine at drama school, a wonderful actor-- he worked with carry grant in "the grass is greener." and i had coffee with him recently and i said did you have
many chats with carey grant? he was somebody i loved, i never met. and he said yeah, i had lots of chats with him in the wagon between takes and i said to him when are you going to retire? and he said "when i can't get the girl." >> rose: (laughs) >> you can hear that. "can't get the girl." >> i thought i never get the girl, you know what i mean? i can't retire. i haven't got the girl since '66! i haven't got the girl since julie christie. (laughter) >> rose: and that's what he said? >> yeah, that's what he said. but i can go on forever. i'm doing a thing next for tim burton it's like three days but it's with amy edwards, kristof wolz. it's in vancouver. i'm a performer. >> rose: so what director has been good for you?
>> well the man who discovered me was a great man as well as a great genius first hollywood movie william wiler. >> rose: not bad, not bad. every >> every film he made was artistic and critical success except the last one. that's when he didn't get the girl, that's when he stopped. so for a young actor, far 23-year-old actor to work with wileer doesn't get any better than that. >> rose: and you learn. >> you learn everything, really. and then, of course, before and after fellini, you know? going to rome to be the first leading man to play english leading men, to work with maestro, you know? >> rose: what do you remember? >> i remember him loving me. >> rose: loving you? >> he loved me. i got off the plane, he looked at me and he said "it's love."
(speaking italian) >> rose: (laughs) and the price was you had to love him. but that wasn't hard. and i remember him under the camera under the camera squeezing my knees, giving me his energy, you know? giving me fellini power. >> rose: and that's joans you. >> yeah. that's a man who loves actors you know? >> rose: you can tell the difference, can't you? if the director loves actors? >> oh, sure. he was never in a tent looking at a video with a horn, you know? he was under the camera. >> rose: knew what he wanted. >> and he got it. >> rose: knew when he got it. >> take one, we're done.
>> rose: he was as good as it is? >> yeah, yeah. >> rose: that was the '60s, too. >> yeah, but he also introduced me to the woman who taught me yoga, he took me to lunch with crush that mati. i became a vegetarian. i became a vegetarian in '68 after meeting krishna mati. i started breathing and doing yoga and i came back from rome different. and then i got the job with passelini and passelini would film me when i wasn't looking. of course the eye that never sleeps, i saw him after a few days, what he's doing? and i realized he didn't want what i did. he wanted what i was so that was
another incredible moment for me. >> rose: he wanted what i was? >> yeah. so i just -- i thought okay. that's when i started going into the shot empty, you know? because i thought if he wants what i am the more i'm in earnest, you know, the better it's -- the better he's going to like it. and as it was a part without words it was the kind of easy introduction to be present in the present tense. >> rose: what's -- i ask this often because i'm curious about it. what is it about acting that makes it good at its best? what happens? >> what happens is that between action and cut you're tethered to the best of yourself. you're tethered to just the
awareness that's before -- it's what thought comes from. it's what emotions come from. it's pre-thought. it's pre-emotions. it's just a kind of a silence. it's a quiet. it's lacking nothing. that nothing is in excess, you know? and there's a kind of -- and there's a kind of subtlety of vibration that comes from that quiet and it's different from the vibration of thinking things through. this is only my opinion, charles. >> rose: it's an important opinion. >> but the camera seems to love that and the camera conveys it to the audience and it reminds
the audience of what in name is looking, of what in them that is listening. so there's an empathy that comes with non-separation, you know? you don't feel separate. what's separate when you're watching a great actor on screen, you know? you're not separate. >> rose: you're joined, you're connected. >> and i think that's what moves me when i was first going to cinema. there were actors that moved me. and i -- and i strove to be one of those kind of actors. so that's what i believe. i'm not saying that happens often. it happens sometimes but when it happens there's a feeling of joy. >> rose: but the question then becomes why does it happen when it happens? >> well, that's the unquestionable, you know?
that's the mystery of life, isn't it? that's the kind of self-illumination of consciousness, you know? you can't escape from it. that's the reassuring thing so it makes death. it makes death the price of having been individual. >> rose: what it about you that makes women crazy? >> i wish i knew. (laughs) i always expect me to look like i look on the screen and i always let them down. >> rose: no, but i mean i think of -- bardo. the list that i read. barr doe. >> yeah. >> rose: go on, tell me! (laughs) >> well, i don't know. i genuinely don't know. >> rose: you know what i think it is? i think it's partly your physical attractiveness, intelligence, and some sense of being connected to the moment.
living in the moment. >> well, yes, and and this -- i guess my first awareness of that when i see a beautiful -- when i see a woman whose beauty i'm taken by, when i'm unaware it's really noticeable. (laughter) i threat unawareness remind me to be aware because i don't -- for a young man, you know, for a young -- i mean, it was the most exciting thing in my life was girls, you know? >> rose: was girls. >> yeah. and as i was a youth after the pill and before aids it was a good moment to be interested in girls. >> rose: and you knew some of
the best of them. >> i think so. >> rose: thank you for coming. >> oh! >> rose: my pleasure. >> time flies when you're having a good time, right, charles? (laughter) >> rose: ziad doueiri is here. he is a french/lebanese filmmaker. his movie focuses on an arab doctor who learns his wife was involved in a suicide bombing. here is the trailer for "the attack."
>> rose: i'm pleased to have ziad doueiri at that table for the first time. welcome. >> thank you. >> rose: i want to talk about this movie and the other movies but you've had this remarkable experience. you are inch from, lebanese, and american. citizenship in all three countries. >> that's right. >> rose: most of the time they say french/lebanese filmmaker it seems to me but you've spent formative time here in america. >> 20 years. >> rose: went to san diego film school. >> yes. >> rose: san diego state, i guess. worked as a cameraman, second camera first camera for quentin tarantino. doesn't get any better than that. >> it was a great experience. it haunts me until now. >> rose: haunts you? >> well, quentin does not have -- he's just somebody who's insignificant. liz experience as ha presence, his way of working on the set and the vortex around him is
terrific. i'm not saying i was influenced directly by his films more like by the way he was on the set and then this emphasis he has, it's fabulous. >> rose: would you apply the word "genius" to him? >> if i say it it would look contrived but i think he did enter history because he's so individual wallistic. >> rose: he has a signature style. >> that's right. compulsive dialogue, compulsive person. >> rose: tell me about this movie because it's based on a very, very popular book. >> i got the phone call from my agent in new york when i was living in beirut and she said there's this book that focus features is interested in and they saw your previous films and they were interested if you want to look at it. so i said what is it about? so christina told me briefly what's the story. >> rose: christina is the agent? >> yes. and she said-- i said what's it about. she told me. i said i'm not interested in the middle east. i've been living in beirut, i'm tired of it. i do not want to deal with this
issue anymore. it's overwhelming. the israeli palestinianen conflict, hezbollah, everything, i'm trying to take a break. she says "why don't you read it and decide." never heard of it. so she fedexed me the back to, i read it at a beach coffee, very trashy coffee in beirut and i was so glued to it. so i called her and then she says come to new york. so i was actually very surprised why an american producer studio would want to do something like this. the film has no american actors, it's not an american story. itis not like "hurt locker". it's in hebrew, arabic, no stars about a very thorny subject and hi simply said "i do care about the subject. a lot." and he said would you consider tom hanks to play the role? and i said why not but -- and
which language will he speak. he said think about it. i flew back home and thought and i called him and i said i think it should be done in arabic and hebrew. he said i agree, let's go for it. so we started working me and joelle, the screen write efrplt and a month later the hezbollah/israeli war started and i live in beirut at that time and the war with hezbollah was about a thousand meters away from my house so close. it was such an intense war we actually thought it would not be worth it for us to continue doing the story. too difficult. we were watching live t.v. when it was going on and we had to go back and concentrate on the script. it was almost impossible. then we escaped to the mountains stayed a couple days and went back. 33 days later the war was over and we launched a script again and nine months later we finished. >> rose: tell us the story because you get some indication from a trailer, this is a doctor
madly in love with his wife. >> rose: modern wife. christian. sexy. educated. >> from bourgeoisie from nazareth. basically all her profile does not match any profile of what you would consider typical suicide bomber. she didn't come from a refugee camp, she's not muslim, not veiled which is the whole intrigue. how could a woman who had that background commit such a horrific act? which pro pole it is protagonist aamin jaafari, to want to understand why. how come i didn't see it coming? how can you be married to somebody for 15 years and never know what was going on? which is -- propels them to go back to his roots, look for the perpetrators whom he believes were going to be the perpetrators only to find out that the truth is a lot bigger than what he thought. >> rose: how could he not have known? is there an easy answer to that?
>> i'm glad you ask me that question. you cannot know when somebody is very caught in his career, very successful and he's -- a doctor swears, he takes the hippocratic oath, you are to save lives, that's your priority, your number one you could not know because in the film we say maybe he was too caught on his career, or maybe he tried to build this bubble, to build a perfect family in a non-perfect world. what we're trying to say is if you try to get away from this conflict, the israeli/palestinian issue, if you try to pretend it's not there it will eventually come back from the back door and hit you where you expect it the least and this is what happens to him it's this whole trip about this inner voyage to understand why. >> rose: and also about how he changed. >> of course he changed. i changed. >> rose: you changed? >> in my life i've changed. a lot. >> rose: wait, because -- >> i hated jews. >> rose: you hated jews?
>> totally. i hated israelis. >> rose: and what made you change? >> look you -- you -- making this film is also -- it's also about the film but also there's something that goes along in my own personal life, you know? i grew up in beirut. i witnessed the '67 war, yom kippur war, i was young. 1982 war, so on. so in '82 it was time for me to leave. i graduated, the situation was bad in beirut and i wanted to go study film in the united states and how -- i mean, i remember when i left and came to los angeles i was -- what do you expect from a child? a child who grew up in the war being fed anti-israeli feelings. whether they are justified or not it's a different topic. but i was very, very hostile to everything we call yes yehudi.
the it means both. so i came to the states to study and i was just -- witnessed a lot of things that didn't make me necessarily sympathetic to -- i didn't think jews had a narrative. i didn't think the jews had a side of the story. how could they? look what they are doing. then you go into college, you attend school and you're people your age and you start to understand and something happens along that long process where this started to come down and slowly -- it's a slow process. i'm sitting talking to you about it right now but it took years and you start to understand that maybe they have a point of view. they have a perspective. they have a narrative. you see i didn't think israelis had a narrative. i didn't think they deserved one. how could you? growing up 12, 13, 14, 15, 16 years old trying to understand the other perspective i couldn't do it.
then years go by and then you start exchanging ideas. i might disagree with them, i might still look at the occupation from its -- we have to be objective. i do not forget. but at the same time you start to see that they are as fragile as i am. they are as insecure as i am. wow, a few years ago i thought that word bulletproof f-16 gung-ho, using their weapon indiscriminately. there was the goliath and i was the david and i was suddenly in college, you sit down and you see they are just as david as i am. and then, you know, i remember, charles, something very, veryer the turning. i sat down in my doplt tear class and he showed us a film called "night and fog." i don't know if you mow the film. >> rose: i do. >> what was perturbing is not the film. it was its effect on me. i was sitting and feeling a lot of empathy.
it was weird. you understand? >> yes. >> because i was not raised that way. i do not grow up where you can empathize with your enemy. this film that i made, 15 years ig i would not have been able to make it. impossible. i had to cross that bridge, i had to be pragmatic about it and deal with the israelis, deal with the enemy that occupied. the list is huge. big list. i had to sit down and find out that those guys that i hated existentially are actually working going out on the limb to help me make this movie. the money was not an issue. whatever it was you cannot come out of this experience indifferent. >> rose: what's the response in lebanon? >> terrible. >> rose: terrible? >> well, the film is banned. the film has not even played yet but when the news said that ziad
doueiri went to israel it was automatically banned because i actually broke the law. a 1955 law in lebanon that forbids any lebanese citizen to be in any contact -- suppose you were an israeli, i could be arrested. >> rose: by whom? >> by the lebanese authority. >> rose: for talking to an israeli? so suppose i was an israeli or being interviewed by an israeli? >> absolutely. >> rose: against the law? >> totally against the law. and it's just as a legal problem as a political problem. i went to beirut -- >> don't lebanese business people do it all the time? >> they do it all the time! it happens all the time. it happens that they don't do it in public. you understand? and me being very known in lebanon as a filmmaker that was even a briger scrutiny i'm very, very upset because i think this that the law should exclude people who go do films.
we are doing movies, we're not doing politics. we're not doing -- we're not being -- we're not -- they are looking -- i'm very upset about it. i'm planning to contest it, too. >> rose: what about france and what about -- your other place that you're a citizen of? >> it's sold all over europe. it has a u.s. distribution. >> rose: but you submitted for awards last year? >> it was at tell you ride in toronto people said "why don't you submit it to the oscars?" we think it's up there -- >> rose: for best foreign film? >> to for best foreign film. so i went back to the lebanese government. talked to the ministry of culture and they said "we can't." i said "why?" they said "we can't have a film that has israeli actors represent lebanon." i said "where is the issue?" he said "we just can't." so it was banned. >> rose: did you anticipate these problems? >> i did. totally i did. i knew from the start -- look, my mom is a lawyer. a couple months before i
traveled she said is there a chance you can avoid this legal quagmire and try to shoot in n egypt or cyprus or tunisia? i went scouting but no city looks like tel aviv. tel aviv is a very peculiar city. it has very geometric, very modern. and we needed that. and after thinking about it i said i'm going to tel aviv. i said we'll write a letter and send it to the lebanese army secret service. that is matter handed by the military tribunal because we are in a state of war and she said why don't we write them a letter and you tell them exactly what you want to do? that way they don't think you're going betheir back or spying for the israelis." it's serious stuff. we wrote them a letter and told them what we wanted to do and the last thing she says we are waiting for your guidance. so my mom said then we'll throw the ball in their court.
>> so can you know somebody as much as you think you know? >> rose: why did she do it? >> it's a good question. we've tried during the writing to try to pin it down to one and one reason so we said what if -- you see in some you kind of sort of have to give them a motive for your characters. i said what if theoretically she
did it because she couldn't get pregnant and she had to live with the complex. what if she did it because she was born on an israeli checkpoint and her mom died. what if she did it because she screwed up her life? she messed up her career and she feels worthless? what if she did it because she was bipolar? what if she was psychotic. there's a scene where her husband is talking to her psychiatrist. and then we find out the more we tried to pin it down to one reason the more it made the character banal. it would not work. it made it very one dimension dimensional. then we thought how about if we gather those reasons and pass it to the audience and let speculation around her build that character. it's not why she did it, it's what people think she did it. so the israeli liberal left, how would they interpret an act like this? an israeli right military, how would they expect that? a palestinian how would we
interpret her action? we kept on floating that idea and then finally we said how about if we have her buried with her mysteries? it's more interesting. it's more nuanced. and the question is do you really commit an act as horrendous as that just for one reason? i don't think you would. if you are working for the cause you would gather money, you would kill an israeli soldier, you would do something military. but to be able to blow kids in a restaurant and kill yourself in it is not only for the cause. i'm absolutely convinced today if you do a psychology test of one of those suicide bombers who were caught before the act and you do very in-h analysis it's never just about the cause there are a lot of layers what motivate people do such a crazy thing so we decided this is how we're going to do it. she did it for so many reasons but we don't know which one and her husband will never totally understand why. >> rose: and that will haunt him
all his life? >> this is how the film ends. this is the whole thing. the guilt. >> rose: the movie is called "the attack" which opens on friday, june 21. it's adapted from an international best-seller of the same name. ziad doueiri, thank you. good to have you on the program. >> thank you. >> rose: thank you for joining us. see you next time. captioning sponsored by rose communications captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org