1000 Times Good Night: interview with Zoriah

On the occasion of the release in french cinemas of the movie, we could ask some questions to the photojournalist Zoriah. He was the coach of the actress Juliette Binoche during the shooting. You could find more informations about him on his website www.zoriah.com and his blog www.zoriah.net.

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Cyril: What do you think about Erik Poppe movie? What were your first impressions when you discovered it?

Zoriah: The first time I saw the film it was very different than I had expected. I had made the movie already in my own mind without even knowing it, so seeing the real thing felt very strange to me at first. The more I see it though the more I appreciate and enjoy the film. I think we all had a lot of passion for this film and you can see that when you watch it.

Cyril: Can you explain us how did you work with Juliette Binoche and what kind of advices you gave her?

Zoriah: I started off with a number of phone conversations with Juliette before she began the film. She was very interested to know about my personal life and how the work affected me. Before we began filming we met in Morocco and went out shooting in the streets, so that she could have a bit of a taste of what it is like to photograph real people in a real environment. Then I was on set each day in Morocco to answer questions and show her how I might approach a certain type of subject matter (for instance the suicide bombing.)

Cyril: What do you think about the treatment of the characters in the movie?

Zoriah: I think the story was a realistic look at how the life of a war photographer might look. I think each of us is different and our lives and partners are different as well, so there is not really “one” way that a war photographer lives. I believe the film captured the passion and pain that goes into the work, which I believe is fairly universal.

Cyril:  What is your opinion about this woman who takes the decision to do this job?

Zoriah: I think this is a selfish job, no matter if it is a man or a woman who takes it. We struggle so hard to tell the stories of strangers that we often don’t take care of those who love us the most. Again, this is a generalization but I think it is very hard to have a personal life with this job (or at least what most people think of as a personal life.)

Cyril: You travel a lot because of your job, what is the best and the worst memories?

Zoriah: I have been to more than a hundred countries now, many of which I have been to ten or more times. Because of this a lot of my memories to blend together into a bit of a confusing mush. That being said, I do have wonderful memories of kind moments between people. You see a lot of beauty and compassion and that is always inspiring. Of course I also have lovely memories of personal moments where I had new realizations, new accomplishments or even just a breathtaking view.

As far as worst memories go, I suppose there are a lot of those as well. Of course I have a lot of memories of people suffering and dying. Even harder to think about than that are the people who I know are still suffering and probably will continue to for many decades. Most people in this world have really difficult lives. It is hard enough to be human, to love, to loose, to get sick etc…but then you stack poverty and war on top, it is really quite sad.

Cyril: As a photojournalist how do you manage your job and your private life?

Zoriah: I guess we all find ways of doing it. I have lost a lot of friends over the years, not because we don’t like each other but just because I am gone all the time. I do my best to keep in touch and see people when I end up wherever it is that they are living. As I get older though my friends get families and children and it becomes harder to relate. But I am fortunate to have a lot of support and a lot of wonderful people who have always stood by me and more than anything I am thankful for them.

We thanks Zoriah for his availability during its business travel in India.

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