The Sundance Kid Grows Up By Mariangiola Castrovilli

in 40th Karlovy Vary Film Festival

by Mariangiola Castrovilli

I had the opportunity to meet the actor Robert Redford at the 40th edition of the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, where he was honored with a Crystal Globe for Outstanding Artistic Contribution to World Cinema. Below is an excerpt of the interview I did with him.

M.C: Mr. Redford, what did you study in the days before taking up films?

Robert Redford: I took a keen interest in European history, when I was 18 years old. I wanted to leave my country and experience the world. I felt that I would receive a better education not in a class room but in the world, in the streets. And I wanted to experience other cultures. So when I came to Europe I had very little money and I had to learn languages. I traveled, as we say in America, on the bump. So it was hitch hiking, and I wanted to get to Prague but it was impossible in those days. That was 1957. My experience living in Europe for a year and a half in France and Italy had great impact because it created my world view. And I wanted to get outside of my country to maybe understand my country from other points of view. And when I did that I began to shape how I would see my world and how I would see my own country, including appreciating what was good about my country which was the fact that it had these freedoms, freedom of speech, freedom of expression. As I traveled I could see that not every country had that. So I could learn to appreciate my own country from being at other places and seeing human suffering. At that time I just happened to be in a situation where the Hungarian revolution was going on, and I assisted as a volunteer to help bring refugees across the Danube. That’s when I began to realize how it was for the rest of the world and why I should feel very proud of my country’s ability to have freedom. So when I came back to the United States and became an artist in film I think I carried that with me. So Prague for me was a city that I was not able to see. And I always wanted to see.

M.C: How do you see your future?

Robert Redford: I don’t have a crystal ball! I have a Crystal Award, I think, my future concern is for my country. I am very proud of my country. I think we have the capability to be a very strong nation that sets a great example for the rest of the world. I’m not happy with the way things are now. I think there’s no secret that I disagree with this administration in many of its policies. And I continue to fight in whatever way I can to go against those policies. Whether it’s environment, whether it’s education, human rights, whatever. I do not agree with this administration.