War Photographer (2001) Movie Script

It seems too graphic
and unemotional.
I would prefer
those grieving people.
- For this double page here?
Yes, for the big page.
- Okay.
There's already a great deal
of misery in it!
I like this sad
figure walking through
the streets full of destruction...
Fits perfect!
And Goma! One million refugees!
Thousands died
and couldn't be
buried in the volcanic
soil. There were piles of corpses!
Right! The piles of corpses...
It'd be great!
There are the piles!
That looks fantastic!
You think we should
use this one? - I'd enlarge it.
This is also a terrific picture.
The corpses being dumped.
- Maybe we should put it here.
Have it enlarged.
- Okay, fine.
Can you tell that the corpses
being dumped aren't in Africa?
You don't have
to see the corpses...
You can substitute
them with this.
Here you feel like you're being
shown some scene in Africa.
It starts with Africa, and you
think it's an African horror trip.
But his idea is worldwide horror.
It zooms in again...
- Then there's the head...
Then there's that poor guy.
- Looks terrific. - Okay.
Then we'll have a look at it.
Comma... now it's shorter.
After the Berlin Wall fell,
wars changed.
It was no longer nation against
but people against people.
Instead of high-tech weapons...
and machetes.
- James Nachtwey,
the world's most
famous war photographer,
has portrayed
these new conflicts and
victims in a way
nobody else ever could.
My son has arrived!
Oh, my son! Oh, my son!
Oh, you!
"Please, don't," I said.
"My brother
is deaf and speechless."
But they threw him
down from the truck,
took his money and killed him.
They cut off my other
brother's arm with a bread knife.
They tore my uncle's
son from his arms,
but he wouldn't let go.
So they shot him in the head,
and the child fell on the ground.
They gave me 2 minutes time,
and they held an automatic
weapon at my neck.
They wanted money.
There are war photographers
who are only
able to endure the horror
of what they've seen,
experienced and escaped...
like in Vietnam...
by going with the soldiers
to the same brothels
and bars
and drinking the same whisky.
Others have become cynical.
Jim is a remarkably
uncynical person,
which is all the more remarkable,
because most people have seen
a lot less misery and suffering.
Lonely because...
his experience sets him apart
from his colleagues and others.
He has become
a different person
as a result of those 25 years.
While we talked
about that horror
in order to
comprehend what we saw,
the absolute inferno of people
who were dead,
dying and vomiting,
never-ending lines of people
waiting outside the first-aid tents,
Jim said almost nothing.
Jim said hello. He talked
about some
organizational details,
then he said, "I'm going to bed."
And while
we needed beer to recover
from what we'd seen that day,
Jim had
one or two glasses of water
before going to bed.
Then he got up early
the next day to head out alone.
Good morning, Mister.
- Good morning.
For me, the early 80s
were characterized
by my move to New York.
I was a photo editor for GEO.
I'd worked
for SPIEGEL before that,
and I had an opportunity
to take over
the photography department
at the New York office of STERN.
That was in 1982.
It was
the first time that Nachtwey
came to STERN's office
with a portfolio,
and that led to a friendship,
a love affair.
Both of us had an idea
what that New York situation
was supposed to lead to.
Nachtwey wanted
to make a name for himself.
He was very bright...
and determined.
His mind was focused
Like flight routes.
No winding roads.
There was one distinct,
straight, narrow, stony path
he had decided to take.
Of course,
at times I wished it was
a warmer, closer,
more intense relationship.
But his work was
of great importance.
I'll do it.
I'll do it with my pictures.
I'll convince
people with my pictures.
Nachtwey came
back from Nicaragua.
He was relaxed and happy.
He brought me a necklace
made of shells.
He put it around my neck,
and I thought that was great.
I remember
the first time I met him.
His hair was parted,
his jeans were creased,
his shirt was immaculate.
And amidst all
that dust and chaos,
stood this man
I'd never seen before
taking his pictures. He was
in no hurry like the others.
He was somehow calm,
as suddenly
South African photographer
Ken Oosterbroek
was killed next to him.
Normally, two sorts of journalists
are hit:
the ones
on their first assignment,
and the ones
who have been at it too long
and think they're bulletproof.
Jim is in danger
of seeing himself as bulletproof,
in danger of pushing his luck
once too often.
As someone
who is quite reserved,
he needs that kick,
that adventure,
that flow of adrenalin
and the fear of dying,
in order to feel alive.
Jim is at his best
in the most extreme situation.
That's it. He keeps
on pushing those limits.
Tough, tough, tough.
It's also very difficult
to talk to Nachtwey
about the insane situations
he has narrowly escaped.
It's excruciating the way some
photographers and journalists
never stop talking about what
they've experienced.
With Nachtwey, however,
you have to
drag everything out of him.
You really have to beg him,
and, even then, he tries to avoid
making the impression
that he's bragging, showing off.
When he returned
from an assignment,
and I wanted to grab him
and say,
"Tell me about it. How was it?"
No, first he had
to develop the pictures
and then look at them.
I don't know
where he kept everything,
or where he keeps it,
because the photo
material alone, the pictures,
are only a fraction
of what he has seen, felt, smelled
and heard.
He has his own library
of suffering in his head.
What were you thinking of?
Don't you want to talk about it?
Allah is great!
I feel that
James Nachtwey's pictures
possess the precision
of a war surgeon.
He hates to hear that.
He doesn't want to be compared
to a war surgeon,
because everyone
will then say,
"Aha, a
cold-hearted war surgeon."
He is unrelentless when dealing
with people and situations.
This very old-fashioned,
very unmodern characteristic
makes him, at the same time,
so untypical, so fascinating.
Do I make a living
from other people's suffering?
Has their suffering
and misery been...
my ladder to success?
Do I exploit people?
Am I the bloodsucker?
The vampire with the camera?
Thank you.