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Lessons in Leadership from Nelson Mandela; Nelson Mandela's 100th Birth Anniversary; Robert Redford's New Film, "The Old Man and the Gun". Aired 1-2p ET
Aired September 24, 2018 - 13:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[13:00:00] CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hello, everyone, and welcome to "Amanpour." Here is what's coming up.
It's the annual meeting of world leaders at the U.N. in New York, and we remember the great lessons in leadership from Nelson Mandela. Our
incredibly candid conversation with the great man's widow, Graca Machel.
Also, ahead, where do these world leaders go for the best health care in the world? The mayo clinic in Minnesota. Our Walter Isaacson speaks to
the award-winning historian, Ken Burns, about his new documentary.
Plus, why the now 82-year-old Sundance kid isn't really retiring even though his new film "The Old Man and the Gun" might be his last on-camera
Welcome to the program, everyone. I'm Christiane Amanpour in New York where more than 100 world leaders are gathering for the annual United
Nations general assembly.
It comes at a time when the Trump administration continues to challenge the historic world order on just about everything from trade to alliances to
America's global leadership role. And what a difference a year makes.
Upon arrival at U.N. headquarters today, President Trump said that he will meet with the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un for a second time, "quite
soon." Remember, this time last year he had threatened to "totally destroy North Korea" and he called Kim "little rocket man." This year though,
world leaders are braced for a full-frontal Trump assault on Iran.
Into these turbulent times steps the memory of Nelson Mandela. The U.N. is marking 100 years since his birth and his legacy of enlightened leadership.
His widow, Graca Machel, told the assembled heads of state that they have a moral imperative and the ability to bring the death and destruction we
witness on a daily basis to an end.
Along with Mandela, Machel, co-founded the Elders, it's a group of former world leaders working for peace, justice and human rights around the world.
And just before she took to the podium at the U.N. today, we sat down to talk leadership on everything from politics to #MeToo, her own past as an
armed freedom fighter. And she also spoke movingly about her marriage to a man that she lost but an icon the world will always remember.
Graca Machel, welcome to the program.
GRACA MACHEL, WIDOW OF NELSON MANDELA: Thank you so much for having me.
AMANPOUR: I want to ask you how you're feeling today because a few years ago when we spoke shortly -- well, a year after Nelson Mandela's death you
said you're just trying to get through it and sometimes you wake up every morning and don't know what to do. How have those intervening years
MACHEL: I had a reasonably good time after the second, the third year. But this being the fifth and with the concentration of celebrations on his
100 years, it has not been easy, because things come back, you now, relive the moments together, you are forced to think about who he is, the place he
has in history and it is mixed feelings when he is being celebrated but mostly at the personal level, I miss him most.
AMANPOUR: When you think about him at this time, as you say, it's the 100th birthday, anniversary and it's also a time when we are all talking
about the vacuum of global leadership, the crisis of global leadership. And Nelson Mandela was the epitome of what a great leader can and should
Is there something particular apart from your very personal feelings that you feel the world is lacking without him in it?
MACHEL: Courage. I see -- Nelson Mandela, for me, is Madiba. I see Madiba's leadership as the highest reference of courageous leadership in
face of extremely challenging situations, to go beyond himself and put the lives and the interests of his people at the highest level and prepare to
sacrifice personally and even to take risks which his leadership could be questioned by his colleagues but take the courage to do the right thing at
the right time. I think we lack this today.
The world is confronted with -- let's use the example of conflict and peace, which exactly is where his contribution is more significant. We do
not have anyone who can take the courage to say, "The was in Syria has to stop." To say, "It's unacceptable was is happening in Yemen and why in
South Sudan -- I mean, agreement after agreement nothing holds and people continue to be killed, displaced, refugees. I could go on and on. That
lack of courageous leadership, to do the right thing at the right time, I feel is what is missing.
AMANPOUR: Well, you're here on the 100th anniversary of Madiba's death. You have this very, very strong message you're going to -- you'll be giving
to the United Nations. And you're here in the United States. President Trump is going to be here all this week. And you've said quite pointedly
that leadership and policy for the world cannot be made into 280 characters. I mean, you're talking about the Twitter in chief. Am I
AMANPOUR: And what is it that bothers you about what's coming from the leader of the free world today?
MACHEL: I will escape talking certain individuals and leadership. I will leave that for other people to do it. But I think there is a kind of
perversion of the rules through which we elect, which means we select those who should be the best amongst the best precisely to defend and to protect
the interests of the majority.
So, if there is one thing I believe we should think about again is whether the electoral systems which we have, are they really delivering in terms of
the will of the people, which means the majority of the people? And I'm not talking about the developed world along, even in our part of the world.
So, let me say the mechanisms and the institutions and the operation we have put in place as the foundations and the edifice of delivering
democracy today, I think we should revisit. And to say, are they adequate? Is this the results which we intend? In many cases, I doubt.
AMANPOUR: Well, Graca Machel, I am asking you this because you have not just been the wife of two of the greatest African freedom fighters and
liberation fighters, Nelson Mandela and Samora Machel. But you yourself joined Frelimo, you yourself joined the liberation struggle at the age of
23, I think, if I'm not mistaken, in your own country, Mozambique.
Tell me what brought you to that struggle, how you help wage it and what that experience tells you about what you're telling me now, the commitment
to democracy, the commitment to people's rights, you know, keeping the promise of those struggles.?
MACHEL: I was a student when I joined Frelimo, because I believed that it was the single organization which represented the deepest aspirations of
the majority of Mozambicans.
AMANPOUR: And that was the time when you were trying to get rid of colonial rule?
MACHEL: Exactly. It was for colonial rule, which we succeeded. And at the first years of our independence, actually, they were galvanizing in
bringing an informed talk and to grassroots and to all sectors of society to build a common dream of what we wanted Mozambique to become. And I did
think it worked.
AMANPOUR: You have a pretty mean shot with AK-47. I mean, you weren't just sort of hanging around the edges of these movements. You were a
MACHEL: Yes, I was. I was. We all had to because it was not only to fight for freedom in general, it was to protect ourselves, to protect
people. We had what we called liberated areas. Areas where colonial power was not -- had no control. But now, again, we were invaded by the
Portuguese at the time and you had to protect.
One of our rules, particularly of my generation at the time, it was to make sure that those liberated areas were safe because we have the schools, we
had our clinics and activity, productive activity was continuing with the population there and they had to be protected. So, at any time you would
have to be ready if anything happens. And this is part of what has built me also to believe and in practice to say, "You know what, you do what has
to be done at the right time." And I learned this, it was consolidated with Madiba as well.
AMANPOUR: You also became Mozambique's first female education secretary. So, you spent your life really working for children. I just wonder what
you make of the children being separated from their parents who are crossing the border into the United States and this complete nightmare for
humanity down there?
MACHEL: That's again, when you believe this is a country which is made of refugees, most of the people in the United States came from somewhere, the
majority. So, they themselves, they come from families of refugees in different generations. You would expect that authorities in this country
would never, never discriminate against refugees, one, more particularly when it comes to children. So, we are amazed how this can happen
particularly in this country.
And again, when I say it looks like we need to revisit institutions, can you tell me, how does it happen that the judiciary seems not to have power
enough to say, "This cannot happen in this country. This is a democracy which has been consolidated, it's unacceptable." It is sad. There is
institutions which are there, but in practice, why do they have to take so long time to resolve a problem when a child is being harassed is put
prison? The processes are too long and the traumas which left with the kids will live with them the rest of their lives.
So, there's something here, again, in the delivery of the values and the principles of democracy which have to be much more efficient. It cannot be
the way. We have the luxury of waiting, and while we wait much more damage is done to people.
AMANPOUR: You mentioned the judiciary. Again, you're here at a very, very important moment for the Supreme Court of the United States, the judiciary
and the rights and legal rights of many, including women, the nomination of Judge Kavanaugh and the whole sort of #MeToo moment that's going on.
I wonder if you ever reflect on what's happening with women in this country right now, the rising up movement, and you know, the risks still even in
the United States to women's rights.
MACHEL: As you know, the issue of women's rights is my life. I have to say that one of the biggest challenges of human family today is exactly to
accept and to respect the dignity of women, as full human beings who are not second class or are not treated just as half human.
What happens here in the United States is happening also all over the globe. You would wonder why we have so high rates of suicide, high rates
of harassment, of sexual harassment, because women are seen as if they are objects, they are not people with dignity. What is happening with us, that
after all these years in which we developed the values of human rights, of respect and such and such, it's exactly between human relations. It's no
longer the laws and the institutions. It's in human relations where we fail to accept one another as equal. I think it's a big issue of our
AMANPOUR: You have it in your own family, I mean, your own daughter was aggressed by her partner, her eye was very, very severely damaged and
you're trying to get accountability and damages. How difficult is it? I mean, here you are, you are Graca Machel, your daughter has been aggressed.
If it can happen in your family, it happens all over. What should happen to people who do that to women? I think she was aggressed and her eye was
MACHEL: Yes, yes. Exactly. She can only see with one eye. This a very tough issue for me to talk about. Perhaps I was told through this assault
of my daughter that it is not because she was born in the family she was born, we are absolutely facing the same kind of challenges like any other
family in any other level of society, and this has humbled us.
But your question is accountability. Christiane, I will tell you, institutions are not prepared to be accountable when it comes to women.
No, not at all. Not at all. There are very few cases which have taken from A to Z and you can say justice has been served, very few cases.
There's all kinds of tricks -- if my daughter could tell the story, you would be horrified. And precisely as you are saying, she is my daughter,
she is known in Mozambique and she had to go through all of this. That was perhaps the lesion which we should have as a family and that's why she
decided to establish an organization through which she's helping other women who are survivors of violence.
And it's to say its part of what I said at the beginning, women are not treated as full human beings with respect to their dignity. They are
things. They are -- you know. So, they can be treated the way they do and those who are responsible, they don't even shiver. And this encourage, of
course, other perpetrators because they know there won't be consequences. And if there are consequences, it's one amongst 1,000. And so, we have a
huge, huge issue here with the issues general rights (ph).
AMANPOUR: I mean, it's a really live issue, not just in the situation of your daughter and other violence like that but also, as I said, in the
whole #MeToo movement we're seeing from here all across the world right now.
I want to ask maybe about something a little happier. Clearly, you met and married two men who appreciated a woman like you, a strong woman, an
intelligent woman, a fighter, somebody with great heart and compassion and intellect, who wasn't just going to sit down and be a good wife. I know
it's sometimes irritates you when you're asked, how was it that you married these two amazing leaders?
MACHEL: I don't think I can explain. First, you have to remember that if Samora had not been killed, I would not have married Madiba, that's one.
Second, if Madiba had not divorced Winnie, I wouldn't have married him.
So, the way circumstances when I think with Samora is, we had that complete identity around the freedom of our people. We are both freedom fighters
and we really embraced completely the principles of what is the meaning of being in society and to give to your society.
Then I -- he was killed and that had about eight years after this I met Madiba much later. And I met Madiba at a very particular time. He was
very lonely, very lonely, because it was after his divorce. And we started talking and he discovered that despite my sort of exuberant personality, I
was also lonely. So it was a meeting of two souls who had known, I mean, what it means to be in a marriage, but at the same time, they were lonely.
And there were also many issues in which we were absolutely aligned. The children issues being one of them, just to give an example, one of them.
So, we started talking and the meeting of souls then facilitated the rest. That's what I can say. But it was circumstances. It's not like other
people find -- like it was an extraordinary thing to marry. I married two men. It's not anything extraordinary. There are many women who have two
marriages in life. It's simply that, in my case, they happened to be extraordinary human beings, and I want to underline this, extraordinary
human beings and that I can say I was very lucky.
AMANPOUR: I read that it took you many, many years, you wore black for a long time after Samora, the President of Mozambique, was killed in that
plane crash. And then you also said that you were fortunate to meet Madiba at the best of his time. In other words, almost after his presidency,
after the prison, after the struggle. Tell me about that, why was that the best time?
MACHEL: We were both mature. And so, love for us is it was not only to say, "Oh, you have beautiful eyes," it was looking deep into the soul of
the partner you have. And because of that, our connection was really very, very deep. Second, Madiba had gone through all kind of, you know,
sacrifices in life and he was complete -- he was almost completing his term as head of state.
For the first time, he was going to have time for himself and time for family, and even time to enjoy the company of his wife. I don't want to go
back to say the circumstances in which his first marriage was. But the reality is that they were very turbulent years for them. Time of being a
family was very, very short.
So, in reality, Madiba had the opportunity to enjoy the normalcy of a family is when he married me. And so, it was the best for me because both
in terms of his soul to be in peace with himself, of having delivered the best he could to his own people, he could be in peace with himself. At the
same time, he could have a family.
I gave him the opportunity of having under his roof his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. And this has given him a lot of
joy. Because he -- during the years of prison, he wanted to have a family. And for the first time, he could have this. So, it was the best of times
because his spirit was in peace with himself. His soul could connect in such deep way with another soul.
Socially, he could have really the opportunity of being the head of his family and enjoy time with his grandchildren and great-grandchildren. So,
he was really a happy man. So, I met him at a time he could be a happy man. And that is what really gives me also the joy that this man we
celebrate in all forms, et cetera, et cetera, at the end of his life, I made him happy.
AMANPOUR: That is just beautiful. And it's wonderful to be able to speak to you on this, the 100th anniversary of Madiba's birth and you've been so
open and I thank you.
MACHEL: Thank you. Thank you, Christiane. A pleasure.
AMANPOUR: Such candid memories. And turning now from a real-life love story to one of Hollywood's biggest heartthrobs who is also a lead when it
comes to the environment and he's now also speaking up for women's right.
From "Barefoot in the Park" to "Out of Africa" Robert Redford's career spans an extraordinary range of quintessentially American roles. His new
film "The Old Man and the Gun" is about the real-life bank robber, Forrest Tucker, who started as a teen and kept on robbing well into his 70s, in and
out of prison all that time.
We talked about Redford's life, these times, and why, when he says he's retiring, it might not be all it's cracked up to be.
Robert Redford, welcome back to my program.
ROBERT REDFORD, ACTOR/FILMMAKER: My pleasure.
AMANPOUR: We have talked a lot over the years about your amazing brilliant film career. And now, you've come out with your "Man and the Gun," which
is, again, about outlaws.
REDFORD: I've already related to outlaws. I felt comfortable around them. And so, I think, yeah, why not.
AMANPOUR: Forrest Tucker is an amazing guy. I mean, he was a robber, a bank robber, since he was a teenager.
AMANPOUR: And even when he had the chance to go straight, he just didn't, he kept -- tell me, what is it about Forrest Tucker?
REDFORD: Well, for me, what it was about was he just love robbing banks, he did it with a great joy and a smile on his face, and he always got
caught, he always went to prison and he always escaped. So, for me, I think it must have been just the three of those things pulled together but
mostly escaping. Then he get caught again, he go back in to prison and then he'd escape again. So, I just felt that was a great story because he
had fun doing it.
And for me, the last film I did -- I love doing it with Jane, Jane Fonda, was kind of a heavy lift, it was a very sad love story. And so -- and kind
of on the dark side. So, I thought, it would be nice to step up into something more upbeat and fun. So, that's what this represents.
AMANPOUR: Especially for these times?
REDFORD: Especially these, these are dark times.
AMANPOUR: So, did you actually think about that when you were doing this fairly fun film?
REDFORD: I did. I thought we were just surrounded by darkness and we can't escape it, you know, it's beyond our ability to deal with, it's just
there. And the only thing we can do is go against it a little bit. I thought this film did that.
AMANPOUR: So, it's also a love story in a way. I mean, you meet Sissy Spacek. She is the character.
REDFORD: That was easy.
AMANPOUR: And it is actually very moving to see the two of you have this relationship and especially, two people of a certain age, you know, finding
this love late in life --
AMANPOUR: -- or this (INAUDIBLE), this relationship. So, there's a great clip which we're going to play where you are explaining to Sissy Spacek,
the character, why you love doing the robberies and how it's done.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REDFORD: Let's take this place. Say it was a bank and say that that camera up there, that was really a teller's window and you just walk in,
real calm. So, you walk right up, look her in the eye and you say, "Ma'am, this a robbery," and you show her the gun like this and you say, "I don't
want to you get hurt because I like you. I like you a lot." So don't go breaking my heart now, okay?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: You've done quite a few outlaw-ish films, I mean, the best, most famous one of course is "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" and then there
was "The Sting" and you paired up with Paul Newman. But what I was fascinated about reading, you know, a lot of the stuff about you, is that
you were kind of like that as a kid. You were a bit of an outlaw yourself, you were a rebel.
REDFORD: Yes, that's true. As I got older and went into acting, I was drawn to the idea of outlaw characters. What's really interesting though,
but I don't how many people have picked up in terms of Paul Newman and I that when we did "Butch Cassidy" initially, he was offered "The Sundance
Kid." And I was going to be Butch Cassidy. And then, I met with the director, and when I met with George Roy Hill, I said, "Well, yes, I could
do that but I'm much more drawn to "The Sundance Kid." And he got convinced of this. So, I played Sundance. So, they switched the title.
It was originally going to be "The Sundance kid and Butch Cassidy."
AMANPOUR: Well, we have to play, you know, the iconic clip from "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid," which is practically at the end of it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL NEWMAN, ACTOR: I'll jump first.
NEWMAN: Then you jump first.
REDFORD: No, I said.
NEWMAN: What's the matter with you?
REDFORD: I can't swim.
NEWMAN: What, are you crazy? The fall will probably kill you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: That gave you a whole new exposure. I mean, that was what launched you into the career that you're now, you know, apparently retiring
from. Are you really retiring?
REDFORD: No, I don't --
AMANPOUR: Is this really your last film?
REDFORD: No, no. I think that's a mistake. I should never have said anything like that. I think just moving into a different territory. I've
acted long enough, you know. But I didn't want to make a big deal out of it because I thought that distracted from the value of the film and the
cast. It was a wonderful cast that I was working with.
AMANPOUR: So, can I just get it straight. Is this the last film you plan to do as an actor?
AMANPOUR: I'm going to play you a clip of when I asked you the same thing in an interview we did in Paris in 2015, and you were already talking about
potentially, you know, moving back from doing - you know, being an actor.
And - and I asked you are you really ready to retire? This is what you told me.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REDFORD: I mean I say - I want to kick back and I do twice as much as I've done. I think probably as I really look back on it, I don't really mean
it. I think the idea seemed good, but when you get right down to it, I don't think that's who I am.
I think the idea is when you're born, you - you - when you're - when you're being raised, you want to make the most of your life. I mean I guess
that's what I decided, I want to make the most of what I've been given.
And you keep pushing yourself forward, you try new things and that's invigorating. And I guess I found out that rather than retiring, that just
feels better. Just keep moving as long as you can keep moving.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REDFORD: That's it, that's it.
AMANPOUR: That's it.
REDFORD: I'm still the same.
AMANPOUR: Still the same.
REDFORD: I still feel the same way. So rather than talking about retiring, you just moved - kind of slip easily into another territory.
AMANPOUR: And particularly a territory that you want to slip into now is which?
REDFORD: Directing. Directing and producing, yes.
AMANPOUR: I mean obviously you're phenomenal at directing film, for which you got an Oscar was "Ordinary People" back in the 1980s.
REDFORD: Yes, that was surprising, yes.
AMANPOUR: That was a long, long time ago. And even back then you tackled something that wasn't being tackled necessarily in public on the screen,
the idea of mental illness, this family that was so torn apart by the death of one of their sons.
What was it about the subject matter at that time in suburban America that made you want to do that film?
REDFORD: Because I was very drawn to the idea that a lot of people wanted to appear to be something they weren't. And that a lot of people were not
really happy but tried to appear to be happy, and when I went into that territory in Lake Forest, Illinois, I realized that there were a lot of
people there that - what was really important to them is how they looked, how they seemed, their lawn was cut, you know.
And yet underneath that was perhaps a different story, a darker one. And I was very attracted to that idea, but let's explore the darker underpinnings
of what seemed to be a very happy, positive life.
AMANPOUR: And so in this - in this family, they said one of the - one of the sons drowned, died in a sailing accident. And the clip we're going to
play, and of course that's the Oscar you got for that film, for directing it, is the son - the surviving son explaining to his psychiatrist the guilt
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm scared.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Feelings are scary and sometimes they're painful. And if you can't feel pain then you're not going to feel anything else either.
You know what I'm saying.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REDFORD: Pain's part of the deal, you know, pain's part of the picture and you can't shy away from it, you can't turn away from it, it's just real.
Just live with it, be with it, but also there's another side to that, be with that too.
And then it's more balance, if you try to deny pain, if you try to deny darkness, then you're going down a one way street and it's a two way
street. And I think you have to acknowledge both.
AMANPOUR: There's such - a lot of existential questions right now about what does the world have for me? What am I going to do? I mean part of it
is your non-acting life, and that's about the climate and the environment.
And you are really dedicated to that, you've been to the United Nations, you've tried very hard to move the world along on this, particularly your
own country where the current government sort of denies the seriousness of climate change.
Tell me about what you do in your personal and public life to move this along?
REDFORD: Well I think - I think you have to look at where it all started, and for me it started when I was a kid growing up in Los Angeles. And a
the end of the second World War, it was a - it was a wonderful city to me.
And then once the war ended and money came back into the picture, things changed. And suddenly there was development out of control and they had
green spaces that were suddenly wiped out by buildings and so forth.
And where Santa Monica Boulevard had a trolley cart going down the center of it, it was gone, suddenly was a freeway. And I thought well wait a
minute, what - what's going on?
They're - in order to progress, they're wiping out something really valuable.
AMANPOUR: Another thing that is a dark cloud around all of us right now is this notion of where is truth, this notion of fake news that has become,
because of President Trump, now a (inaudible) call for some despicable people and undemocratic dictators all around the world, who when they don't
like something, accuse the press of, you know, peddling fake news.
Again, you know, it just so happens that one of the greatest films you made, "All the President's Men", is all about investigating, holding
accountable and looking for the truth. What do you think about "All the President's Men" and having done that film?
REDFORD: I think we're in a similar spot now. I think that the powers that's out there that's taken us to the brink where you no longer know what
the truth is, and so if you don't know what the truth is, how can you talk about what is truthful or not?
So I think we're right at that brink and I guess I see it metaphorically as it used to be that two sides would come together, they were across the
aisle so to speak. They would cross the aisle to work together to teach something that would benefit the public.
And now there's no longer - it's no longer an aisle to be crossed, it's a moat. There's a gigantic chasm between two points of view, and they're not
crossing to work with each other, they're getting ideologically rigid and stuck.
And we're the losers, and I think that's got to change.
AMANPOUR: The whole idea of anonymous is all of a sudden in the spotlight. Again, I want to play this little clip because it was Deep Throat
anonymous, and this is Deep Throat talking to you in that basement.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Forget the (inaudible) the media's created about the White House. The truth is, these are not very bright guys and things got
out of hand.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Inaudible) come in from the cold. Supposedly he's got a lawyer with $25,000 in a brown paper bag.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Follow the money.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You mean -- where?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well I can't tell you that.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But you could tell me that.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, I have to do this my way. You tell me what you know and I'll confirm. I'll keep you in the right direction if I can, but
that's all. Just follow the money.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REDFORD: So that still applies.
AMANPOUR: Still applies.
REDFORD: Well I mean, gosh, as far as I'm concerned, going back to the scene you just showed, the - what was appealing to me was not so much the
subject at hand, as it was their relationship.
I was drawn to the fact that two guys who are very different, one guy was a Republican, the other guy was a liberal, one guy was a (inaudible) the
other guy was a Jew. They really didn't get along, they didn't much care for each other, but they had to work together.
And so for me the film was about their relationship having to come together to get to the truth. It wasn't so much about where the truth was or
wasn't, it was about how they're journey to get to that point. That was what it was for me.
AMANPOUR: The whole MeToo movement, which started in your industry in Hollywood, which is I think fascinated for the flood - flood gates that it
opened. Had you any inkling that this was sort of (inaudible) in Hollywood, that big producers or directors or others were using this power
over so many people, including presumably a lot of your costars?
REDFORD: Yes, I was very much aware of that. In fact, that was partly the reason for wanting to start independent film, because I sell - there was
only one - there was only category, which was major features, you know, and I was part of that.
And I realized that the bottom line for major studios, their ambition was to make money. So profit was the - was the intention. And I thought well
OK, I understand that, that's - that's part of the deal.
But on the other hand, there are other stories that are not being told that are more diverse, more - more independent minded. And I thought well why
don't we create that - that category just so it could be added to the main one.
It wasn't ever meant to go against it, it wasn't ever meant to cancel it out, it was just meant to augment it.
AMANPOUR: So that's what you do with Sundance, you gave life to independent movies and documentaries and again you were on the cutting edge
of that, given how long ago you started it.
But in terms of the sexual abuse, harassment, praying on female co-stars, were you aware of that?
REDFORD: I was, sure, yes. But I think I probably took it somewhat for granted because it was so pervasive it was just part of the deal.
REDFORD: Yes, I think so. I think it was just there and has been for a long time. I didn't pay much attention to it, I wasn't a part of it
obviously, but I didn't - I just considered that's what it is, you know.
The only thing I was interested in was creating an alternative, that was my ambition. But yes I was aware that that existed, yes. (Inaudible) the
AMANPOUR: Would you - might you have said something if you knew - because some people say well if you knew about it, why didn't you say anything
REDFORD: Because it didn't come close to home. It didn't come to me. It didn't come to my feed. You know, it just was out there. And I didn't pay
a lot - I just said that's the way it was. I didn't like it, but I didn't see it was my job to do anything about because it was just so pervasive.
You know, I just focused on creating an alternative. So now it's -
AMANPOUR: So you think now the moment is important -
AMANPOUR: - this historical moment?
REDFORD: I do. I think it's really important, particularly for women.
AMANPOUR: Yes, of course. And what I'm interested in also women who age and who age out of great roles and obviously women who don't get paid equal
to men for the roles that they play, which is really interesting in the scene we're going to play between you and Sissy Spacek in this film "The
Old Man and the Gun".
She's - you're sitting on the porch and she's sort of talking about, you know, life as it rolls right past.
SISSY SPACEK: Now it's OK to be selfish because you think about 10 years from now where will you be? What will you be doing? Now whenever I close
the door I think, "oh, is this the last time I'll ever have a chance to do whatever that thing was?"
REDFORD: You know what I do when the door closes.
SPACEK: What's that?
REDFORD: I jump out the window?
AMANPOUR: I mean, I guess for a man, it's kind of easy. You're a heartthrob. You're so handsome. You've had all these roles and you can go
on having roles for as long as you want. But Sissy Spacek, who's a brilliant actress, and all those people and women of her generation have
found it very difficult to keep getting roles.
REDFORD: That's sad. If you look at - for example, if you look at European films and you look at actresses like Joan Merol (ph) and you see
films like "Jules and Jim" and you see older actresses having key roles, and they do beautifully and they're aged - they've aged, and I think that's
one of the downsides of Hollywood is that for - at least for awhile, it may be changing now, but at least for awhile it wouldn't accept aging.
Everyone had to be eternally young.
And think of a loss of actors, actors that we lost that could have kept acting if we would have followed the European example.
AMANPOUR: Well, I wonder if you learned that in Europe? I mean, obviously not when you were young man, but you did very, very - at a very young age
you went to Europe -
AMANPOUR: - and you wanted to be an artist.
AMANPOUR: You were thinking about acting at that time.
REDFORD: No, no, no.
AMANPOUR: What was it like? Were you accepted as a young American in Europe at that time? Were you -
AMANPOUR: What was it like?
REDFORD: No, it was just the opposite because I wasn't aware that we - the Suez Crisis happened at that time.
AMANPOUR: It was 1957 just when you got there, right?
REDFORD: Yes, yes, and I wasn't aware of that. I was paying no attention into politics. So I wasn't aware that we were the villains in that. So
when I got to Paris, I thought, "ah, I'm getting the place I'd dreamed about." And suddenly I was treated horribly because somehow I was symbolic
of what had gone wrong. I had not idea what was going on until slowly I realized it was kind of our fault.
We'd alienated a whole culture, and I wasn't even aware of it. I was blind to that because I wasn't - I wasn't interested or aware of politics in
those days, but it made me aware.
AMANPOUR: Was that the education of Robert Redford?
REDFORD: It certainly was in the beginning. Yes, that was part of it, yes. Yes, for sure. It was a sort of shock. And it was a shock that I
needed, and I'm so glad that I did go to Europe and I witnessed other cultures and how they thought and how they saw the world.
AMANPOUR: Robert Redford, thank you very much.
REDFORD: Thank you.
My conversation as he was promoting his film, which actually opens in American theatres on September 28. Now, Redford's enduring legacy, as I
said, is pioneering independent film and documentary with his Sundance Institute.
Our next guest is one of American foremost documentary historians. Ken Burns has taken on everything from the Civil War to the Vietnam War and
everything in between. And now, he turns his sweeping vision and his camera to American healthcare and to one of the best hospitals in the
It's the Mayo Clinic. It's in Minnesota. It was founded more than 150 years ago when the role of nurses were filled by nuns. It's cutting edge
research in medicine has made the Mayo Clinic world famous, and our Walter Isaacson asked Burns why he chose his latest subject and what the
beleaguered American health system could learn from the Mayo.
WALTER ISAACSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Why the Mayo Clinic?
KEN BURNS, EXECUTIVE PRODUCER, "THE MAYO CLINIC": Well, I think we've always looked over the course of 40 years at stuff that are uniquely
American. I think that each of the films hold up a mirror to us of who we were and tell us a lot of about who we are now.
So I was drawn in, sucked into the Mayo formula and the history, the ark of the history and I knew it had to be sort of counterbalanced with
contemporary stories. And if I hadn't done Vietnam, I don't think I would have been able to manage this as well.
BURNS: So the arch of the Mayo Clinic is a history, but within it there are moments that suggest an ability to jump ahead to the present and look
And so, we just concentrated for several years on this project and then when we finished it and stood back and looked at it, we realized that we
had something that was talking about the current healthcare crisis, without having to get down into the marass (ph) of the superficiality of the
politics of it. That here was a great model of something that worked and rather than get into the he said, she said kind of stuff, that the kind of
simple dialectics of politics, you could look at it and say, well here's a recipe of something that works.
ISAACSON: And let me show a clip from the new Mayo Clinic documentary. It's really about values and personality.
UNKNOWN FEMALE: Melanoma is actually one of the most common cancers that can spread even to the fetus. We reviewed what she wanted to do and she
was very clear that she did not want to proceed with elective termination.
UNKNOWN MALE: For her we used a plaque (ph), it looks like a bottle cap and you put radio active seeds within it and then you sew this on the eye
so the goal doesn't allow the radiation to come anywhere else but into the eye. Sometimes I deal with people that die. I feel that the only way that
I can give hope is if I know in my heart of hearts I'm trying to push the boundaries.
ISAACSON: What did you learn from doing the Mayo Clinic that affects how we should think about healthcare today?
BURNS: Well, I think they've got the secret and it's not a secret. They've been practicing it for more than century and being the best hospital in the
United States and I would therefore infer the world, we ought to stop and look and see what's right.
Now, this doctor is an eye doctor, a cancer specialist and he's recommending termination because he's concerned about it. But, because
Mayo puts the patient first, they could learn that she wasn't interest in terminating the pregnancy. Take my eye, she says, in an earlier moment.
And he admits, I know about the eye, not so much about the tummy or the babies being born.
And yet we do know that the presence of this cancer can move to the fetus, and yet, the collaborative nature of Mayo, I mean, they're non-profit, the
trend is toward profit making and so the put the patient first and that seems sort of logical, but in point of fact, it's often the doctor who's
first or the hotel -- or the hospital administrator who's first or the insurance guy who's first. And they put the patient first, what do they
And because these doctors are on salary, no unnecessary tests, no unnecessary procedures, there's a collaborative nature. It self-selects
for a certain type of person. You can see the commitment of Dr. Pulido who agonizes over each lost patient that he wishes to reach out to a specialist
who can help and make it better and they do.
ISAACSON: You do that in the Vietnam film so well. You take it down to the level of the people, the personalities and real people on the ground,
not just the leaders. One of them, that's just a wonderful theme is John McCain.
ISAACSON: And you became close to John McCain, we've just lost him. How do you feel his values are being dishonored in this day and age?
BURNS: For all of his service to the country, I think he's going to do his greatest service in death. He is going to be the person who reminds us of
where we have been and where we could be. And in that space is the possibility for us to literally transcend the current miasma that we're in.
That's what I'm interested in, in the United States of America. Those are the stories I want to tell. Whether it's the Mayo Clinic, which could not
have happened without this amazing story and it's this intersection of, obviously, great, great science, but it's also about faith and about hope
and the things that the sisters of St. Francis in Rochester, Minnesota, brought to the equation.
If you took them away, the Mayo Clinic would not be the Mayo Clinic and that's an interesting story, particularly for American's who prefer for
lots of different reasons not to deal with spiritual aspects of our history or religious aspects of our history. Let's just say, American history is
only a sequence of presidential administrations punctuated by wars.
And when we do those wars, we also want to make sure we understand what's happening on the home front.
BURNS: What the ordinary soldiers is feeling as well as the general and the president who might be commanding that war. And that's been our
assignment, you know, for the last 40 years.
ISAACSON: And what's what you did in sort of the big signature -- early signature thing, which was the Civil War documentary. But history in some
ways shifts and changes.
BURNS: Yes, it does.
ISAACSON: When you look at the Civil War, is there ways you look at that was differently, you look at what Shelby Foote talked about differently,
you look at the monuments issue and whether we should be taking down Robert E. Lee differently?
BURNS: I think first of all, it's about freedom. And this is what we articulated. And it's a wonderful, complex freedom because there's two
kinds. There's a kind of collective freedom, what we need, and there's an individual freedom, what I want and they're often at odds with one another.
But once you acknowledge that we're all about trying to parse that, then race is the next big thing.
Because the guy who articulated our creed, Thomas Jefferson, wrote in the second sentence of the declaration, we hold these truths to be self evident
that all men are created equal. So I'm a third of the way through the sentence; he owned 200 human beings when he wrote that. He never saw the
contradiction, never saw the hypocrisy and more important, never saw fit in his lifetime to free any one of them. And I think helped symbolically, if
not literally, set in motion an American narrative which would be struggling with race throughout its existence.
ISAACSON: As you know well, we in New Orleans led by Mitch Landrieu took down the statue of Robert E. Lee.
ISAACSON: Was that right?
BURNS: Yes, absolutely right. And I can tell you in the simplest of ways. You need a litmus test? There's been worries and people saying oh, what
are we going to do, get rid of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson (inaudible)? No, we're not. This is part of our complication. But these
monuments were added in two periods. One is at the beginning of the reimposition of white rule and the advent of the Ku Klux Klan, who took and
borrowed only one battle flag.
Not the battle flag -- not the -- not the flag of the confederacy, but the battle flag of the army of Northern Virginia. And just one of them. And
that became their symbol. When the Dixie flag worked its way into the state flags, with the exception of Mississippi, which came in in this
period of the late 1880s and `90s, they all came in after 1954.
And the only thing that happened in 1954 that this poor soul remembers is Brown versus Board of Education. So if you have something in which you're
taking a symbol of this home grown American terrorist organization, the Al Qaeda of America, the ISIS of America, the Ku Klux Clan and you're
borrowing their symbolism or you're borrowing their heroes that they, themselves, were insisting be put up at a time, then don't I don't think we
have an argument here.
You know, the United States calls the Civil War the war of the rebellion. Lincoln never said confederacy, he called them rebels. And they lost. But
people always say that the victors write --
ISAACSON: In history we've all made mistakes. And you know what, 100 years from now they're going to think we made some really whopper mistakes
BURNS: And we have (ph).
ISAACSON: How does what you've done give you sort of a sense of meaning and a sense of values that makes you so optimistic about the future of this
BURNS: Well, so there's a couple of things. One is, you know, meaning of cruise and duration (ph), the work you're proudest of, the relationships
you care the most about have benefitted from your sustained attention. So there's nothing wrong with being wrong in a period of supposedly short
attention spans. And when you end up aggregating 50 million people for the first showings of -- of Vietnam, that tells you that there's that hunger
The other thing is is that the world, you, measure us by what we complete. It's about practice. It about process. It's not about presentation. You
know, someone asked Duke Ellington what his -- his most important composition was. And, you know, this is arguably, I would say, the
greatest composer in American history, was certainly the most prolific composer, 2,500 compositions. And he said the one I'm working on now. And
that's exactly right.
I think if we are identified with the finished product, we miss the point of why we go to work, which is work in and of itself is a liberation and
that process of trying to take a story and make it better just continues in the next (ph). So in many ways, I think all I'm saying -- and I hope I'm
not, you know, jinxing everything, is that we've made the same film over and over again. And each film asks deceptively one simple question. Who
are we? Who are those strange and complicated people that like to call themselves Americans and what does an investigation of the past tell us
about not only where we've been, our past, but where we are right now, our present.
And most importantly, Walter, where we're going, our future.
ISAACSON: Ken Burns, thank you for being with us, sir.
BURNS: Thank you.
AMANPOUR: And that conversation ends our program. But just before we go, we just want to tell you tomorrow, as the U.N. general assembly kicks off,
I'll have interviews with two top officials, the Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and the E.U. Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini. She is
trying to save the Iranian nuclear deal from U.S. sanctions. Thanks for watching. Remember, you can always listen to our podcast, see us online at
Amanpour.com and follow me on Facebook and Twitter. Thanks for watching. Bye-bye from New York.