YIDFF 2005 all about me? Japanese and Swiss Personal Documentaries
Lucky Jack—Three Attempts to Stop Smoking
An Interview with Peter Liechti (Director)

Discovering the Motive on the Way

Q: Was quitting smoking the reason for starting this film?

PL: I have to confess that I never know my real intention at the beginning of a film. I find it out while doing the film. That’s one of my most important motivations to do film. However I can give you a couple of concrete reasons. I truly had intended to stop smoking and I had used walking like this before to quit. If I go back to smoking, I’ll go walking again and take a camera.

Before Lucky Jack, I did a major fiction movie, and in a way I was suffering, because although I was at the front of the whole thing, I felt I was losing control over what was happening. After this experience I really longed to get back to my roots as a filmmaker, to the excitement of being alone with a small camera, independent, with nobody watching me, so I could do what I want. So in the middle of my life, I started to go back to my roots, and to look for that pioneer feeling.

Q: One of the things that was striking for me was the repetition of images of footsteps. Is there a particular concept or idea behind using those images?

PL: One of the most difficult things in this movie was to stay the course with the audience, you know? To give the feeling of permanently walking. We stop for a while, but we stay with the rhythm of walking, we never lose track of being on the way. We remember that we are on our way.

Q: On your travels, you have met a lot of people. Was there anybody in particular who left a long-lasting impression on you?

PL: Yes, two people were very important to me. One was a farmer and the other was an old lady who wanted to die. She had a really amazing personality. I didn’t visit her after that, which weighed on my conscience. I read about her death in the newspaper. She was almost 100 years old.

Q: Do you have any plans for your next project?

PL: Last week I stopped shooting my new project. It’s a pure music film; a thirty-day music performance. There is another project which I haven’t begun yet, based on a novel by a Japanese writer that I heard as a radio play.

(Compiled by Matsumoto Miho)

Interviewers: Matsumoto Miho, Nakajima Ai / Interpreter: Fujioka Asako
Photography: Kaito Yoshimasa / Video: Sato Hiroaki / 2005-10-08