London: The book, ‘The Way Back’, which tells of a group of prisoners who escape a Soviet gulag and trek 4,500 miles to freedom, has landed in controversy.
The reason for the controversy is that some believe the accounts given in the book, on which an upcoming drama film is based, are true while others feel it is all fiction.
“Controversy does surround the question of whether the man who wrote the book was on the whole walk,” a news channel quoted director Peter Weir as saying.
“He was certainly a prisoner, so I decided to fictionalise it, change the title, re-name the characters and then draw on the experiences of others who’d been in the gulags,” he said.
The book first appeared in 1956, and right from the start, no one could find information to prove or disprove whether the author, Slavomir Rawicz’s account really happened.
Weir’s pursuit of the truth took him to London, Moscow and Siberia.
“I wanted everything that was on the film, all the dialogue, everything sourced back to either an account in person or a book, so it would be deeply true,” he revealed.
The film, which follows the escapees across some of the world’s most inhospitable terrain, has actors Jim Sturgess, Colin Farrell, Ed Harris and 16-year-old Saoirse Ronan starring in it.