AT 82 years of age, the legendary actor, director and film producer Sir Peter Ustinov, has once again come on holiday to Formentor to enjoy the Mediterranean and to engage, he says, in the supreme pastime of: “breathing in the air of these shorelines and to feel alive”. Ustinov, the master entertainer, divides his time between the Hotel Formentor and the Port of Pollensa where he has his sailing boat moored, a ketch of some 21 metres. An actor of classic schooling, a versatile artist, an inventor of boundless energy, Ustinov demonstrates that he still possesses the lucidity and particular sense of irreverence displayed by all great men of culture. He simply says what he feels like saying, he jokes and gesticulates, capturing the attention of all present. It wasn't long before he started mimicking George W. Bush (“We have evidence that the state of Lichtenstein is hoarding weapons of mass destruction ....”) whilst waving at a boy playing on the jetty. And although his legs are giving way under the weight of the years, his mind is as active as ever, brightening the dullest of conversations with his witty remarks. He has come to Majorca from his home in Switzerland from where he keeps an eye on what's going on in the world and looks after his “interests”. He also presides over cultural and humanitarian efforts to promote peace and nation development (he is currently directing a study on how prejudice can influence politics and collaborates with three European universities). From Switzerland he also takes a global view of imperial wars and peace, witnessing half the world's lamentation over the war in Iraq. “It has been a disastrous war: a débâcle of human intelligence. We have means in place to prevent a situation like this happening, we have almost miraculous institutions like the United Nations and an international legal system which should be more respected” he says, seriously. “The case of the US is a sort of negligent imperialism. I have had bad dreams where instead of reciting Nero, I was reciting George W. Bush”. But Don Pedro, as he is known in the Hotel Formentor, not only lays responsibility for the war in Iraq at the feet of Bush but also with those who supported him. “Blair has been a great disappointment and Aznar appears to have forgotten that General Franco died a while ago”. And can the violence be combatted with the power of the cinema or is there no choice but to resort to militant anti-war propaganda as witnessed in academics? “All of us have a duty to combat violence, it's not just something to be done by those in power or intellectuals”, he answers. “Violence isn't something unknown or distant and we have to stand up and be counted with the means available to us. All of us are involved”. He has particular faith in young people. “We should place high value on the young people of today. They become adult very quickly and take on responsibility that in my day would not have been assumed until much later in life” .... Perhaps this is the secret of his youthful approach to life: that he loves young people. On taking his leave from the deck of the “Nitchevo”, he gives his own particular brand of advice: “Keep breathing, keep living”.


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