Roger Waters on New ‘Wall’ Film: ‘It’s a Protest Movie’
Speaking with reporters about the movie, which opened at the Toronto International Film Festival on Sept. 6, Waters drew a line between his work and the sort of promotional puff piece that many artists tend to make after allowing cameras backstage. “It’s a protest movie,” he explained. “It’s an anti-war, protest movie.”
As has been the case throughout his career, war is a recurring theme in ‘Roger Waters: The Wall,’ which includes reminders of the cost of violence both onstage (where the audience is shown images of people who died in armed conflict) and off. For part of the film, Waters took a crew on a pilgrimage to visit the grave of a grandfather who died in World War I, as well as the site of the battleground where his father was killed in action during World War II.
The point, he argued, is to demonstrate the need for citizens to push back against our national leaders’ willingness to use violence to solve problems. “It’s a question that’s not being asked of our leaders often enough,” he insisted. “If this film asks that question, at least in part, then it would be good.”
Fittingly for a film inspired by a concept album that looks at the damage wrought by divisions between people, Waters hopes to educate viewers about just how much we all truly have in common. “It’s very easy for people to say … that will never happen, because they are this, and they are that. And you can’t talk to them,” he pointed out. “They just lived in a different part of the globe and are educated differently. And they need education the same way that we do so that we can cross the great divide that we might call the wall.”
In fact, as he told the Toronto Sun, Waters thinks we might be on the verge of a breakthrough. “I think people are sick and tired of being told that the most important thing in their life is commerce and the new this and the new that,” he mused. “I think people are probably ready to go now, ‘Well, all of that rhetoric lead us to lob bombs over the top of the wall, that divides society ecologically, economically, philosophically and politically, from all our fellow human beings. And we no longer want to be told by our political leaders that ‘they’ are scum and that ‘we’ are great. So that I believe that it may be we’re no longer interested in the ‘us and them’ form of political philosophy that we’ve been fed on for the last couple of thousand years and that we may be ready to move into a new place.”