SWISS HEALTH MAGAZINE
"For me itís important to be able to slow
Mr. Perez, we first met in Lausanne, in Beau-Rivage Palace. I know
that you visit there often. Now we are talking on the phone, and youíre
in Paris. So do you live in Lausanne or in Paris?
I live in Paris, but I come to Lausanne very often. Thatís where I was
born and my family lives close to the city. I spent my whole childhood
there and left for Paris when I was eighteen. These days I travel to
Switzerland often because Iím overseeing the preparations for the latest
Les Rencontres festival. And, of course, itís always an excuse to see my
mother who lives in Morges, very close to Lausanne.
For me, Switzerland is a peaceful place where things always slow down.
Itís also a wonderful place to think about your life and work, instead
of being in the Parisian rush, or the rush of any big city, like Moscow
or any other. Switzerland sometimes seems like an island in the middle
of Europe with the lakes and the mountainsÖ Itís very important for me
to be able to slow down the pace, and in Switzerland, I can do that.
I know that you have been practicing yoga for quite some time. Do you
still do that?
Yes, I do. I try to practice every day, for five minutes, or thirty
minutes, or an hour. It depends on how much time I have. But honestly,
time is never really an issue. If you want to find the time to do
something, youíll find it. Lack of time is a poor excuse for not doing
exercise. I always try to make time for that Ė for instance, today I
went for a run Ė either before or after I do my yoga session, depending
on how stiff my body is. Yoga is a wonderful way to stretch.
What are your favorite places in Lausanne to visit when youíre there, in
and around the city?
Beau-Rivage Palace is practically my second home. They are also partners
in the festival. I say "festival',
but I should actually call it "Les RencontresĒ,
which means meetings. Itís a place where you meet people, where you
share and exchange. Thereís no competition, no promotionsÖ the main idea
is to build bridges between countries. Beau-Rivage Palace is really one
of the most incredible places in this region, or in the world. Itís such
a beautiful hotel with a long history.
My other love is the Swiss Riviera, the shores of Lake
Geneva. The stretch of shore from Lausanne to Montreux is
absolutely fantastic. And, of course, the mountainsÖ Iím not a great
skier, but I like to hike in the Alps. My parents used to live in
Villars-sur-Ollon, a beautiful town not far from Les Diablerets ski
resort. Thereís a beautiful little train that you can take to go to the
top of the mountain, and from there I just like to walk. There are some
beautiful lakes that you can reach on foot and a small restaurant where
you can have amazing mushrooms. And the air is so incredibly clean and
crisp! I love that side of Switzerland. And, of course, you have
wonderful restaurants in the area, including one of the best restaurants
in the world, LíHotel de Ville in Crissier with three Michelin stars. If
you really want a memorable experience, thatís a place you should go to.
The other thing that is great about the area is that it has a lot of
wonderful schools and universities. There are about 40,000 students in
Lausanne of 70 different nationalities, kids from all over the world. So
you have that vibe, that kind of energy that is very particular to
Lausanne. When I was 18 years old and left Lausanne it wasnít like that.
There were schools, but it wasnít as lively as today, so that is
something that has changed. When you go to Le Flon, the area where all
the kids like to hang out Ė I say "kids",
but they are really grown-ups, just young adults Ė you can feel that
But to tell you the truth, my favorite thing to do in Lausanne is
probably to go to the mountains, where there are no shops, no
restaurants, nothing around you, and just walk through the grass, see
the cows, look for mushrooms. Iím not a climber, but Iím a walker, so
that is what I enjoy the most, especially in the summertime
with the smells of nature. That is something that is really
precious for me.
Speaking about young energy, you have four kids of different ages.
What would you say is the difference between their attitude to life as
compared to your generation?
Thatís a good question. It really depends on how you educate your
children. Itís the soil in which they grow. If the parents are giving
them balance and self-confidence, things will be much easier for them in
the future. Life is really about confidence. If the kids have it, that
is something they can actually lean on. When they are confident, they
move forward and they donít waste time. Doubt is also important, and
they should just embrace it instead of being afraid of it.
Itís difficult to generalize because it really depends on the person. I
see kids who have difficulties withstanding the pressure of becoming
someone, of making something of their life. Some of them are eighteen,
nineteen, twenty, and they still donít know what they want to do with
their life. Itís a very difficult position for kids to be in. My kids
have known exactly what they wanted to do with their lives since they
were teenagers. It makes things much easier. But even if a kid doesnít
know what they want to do with their life at twenty, itís ok. Itís
important not to be overwhelmed by that pressure.
My youngest, Tess, is a singer. She wants to go to a conservatory in the
US. Her twin brother Pablo is a basketball player. Heís at prep school
in the US now. Itís a science academy, so he is studying science, and at
the same time is playing for one of the best US youth basketball teams.
He wants to become a professional player and he has every chance of
doing so. My older daughter Iman is a model and a horse rider, a show
jumper, but at the moment sheís focusing on her modeling career,
and sheís doing really well. The eldest, my stepdaughter Roxanne, is an
artist, a wonderful one. They are all extremely busy, workaholic,
passionate, and itís wonderful to see that. They are all very different.
The thing is that whatever you do, the one that works hardest is the one
who will succeed. Itís a very simple rule. I think my kids know that and
they have that, and they have passion, which is great.
Can you tell us a bit more about Rencontres 7e Art? Is it something
like a movie loversí club?
I wouldnít call it a club. Itís open to everyone, to all people who want
to discover movies, who are passionate about cinematography. The
festival lasts for four days, and we screen 40 to 50 movies in different
locations around the city. They are all classics. Every year we set a
theme and create a program around that theme. We also have conferences,
which take place either in the Capital, a beautiful cinema in the center
of Lausanne, or in other cinemas. The audience is generally between 18
and 35 years old with, of course, some older people, but I think itís
great that it attracts a young crowd.
We partner with seven universities and colleges in Lausanne, including
ECAL Ė …cole Cantonale díArt de Lausanne, EPF Ė Ecole Polytechnique
Fťdťrale de Lausanne, and EHL Ė …cole HŰteliŤre de Lausanne. These three
schools are among the 100 best universities in the world. Those 40,000
students are our target audience, but the festival is, of course, open
to everybody. The cinemas are filled with people and they are
rediscovering old classics, new classics, and movies from certain eras
and countries, including Russian movies.
You might know that one of my greatest passions is Russia and Russian
culture. Iím really working on building a bridge between Russia and Les
Rencontres. Andrey Zviagintsev came to the festival with his wife Anna Ė
it was so great having them. He is probably one of the best directors in
the world. I was so proud that he came. We
also had Paul Auster here, as well as many Americans, English, French,
Danish, Chinese Ė we try to be as open as possible.
At some point Iíd like to do an homage to Elem Klimov and Larissa
Shepitko, his wife: I deeply admire that couple. When you watch
Shepitkoís movie, and all of Klimovís films, you can see those are true
masterpieces. Not many people know them in Switzerland, so itís a good
way to say, "Hey, guys, these are geniuses,
you should know their work". There are many
Russian cinema professionals that I would like to bring to the festival.
Iím close friends with Pavel Chukhrai, Pavel Lungin and many others.
How did you get the idea for Les Rencontres?
Iím doing it because Iím passionate about movies. Itís actually very
difficult Ė you are creating an event where youíre not selling anything,
youíre not promoting anything, just creating a space where you can
reflect on the movies, on the stories that they are telling, on what
those stories represent for the history of humankind, because cinema is
a mirror of the society in which youíre living. So itís a beautiful way
to go back, to see how people were portrayed, how life has changed since
the 1940s, the 1950s, the 1960s. Itís like a time machine.
A few years ago you showed, in Moscow, some very beautiful photos of the
Bolshoi ballet dancers. Are you still into photography?
Two years ago I published a book called "Voyage
en Russie" Ė that was my first and, for now,
last book. I nearly did an exhibition with Olga Sviblova at Moscow House
of Photography, and maybe one day weíll do that. But at the moment Iím
working on many projects as an actor and as a director.
What is your next project as a director? I saw your last movie, ďAlone
in BerlinĒ, and absolutely loved it.
I will start casting for my new movie very soon Ė we will be sending out
the script to actors. Iíll be working with a wonderful English producer,
Jeremy Thomas, who has worked on movies like "The
Last Emperor". Heís an absolute genius, and I
feel very lucky to be able to work with him. My co-writer is John Collee,
who wrote "Master and Commander".
It is an ecological thriller, kind of a metaphor of where we are, a
reflection on our relationship with ecology. We donít really know where
to place ourselves, how we can do something for the planet, what is
happening, and it scares us. So this movie plays with that idea.