'Die to tell': The hell of war, the pain of coming home | Culture

'Die to tell': The hell of war, the pain of coming home | Culture


Hernán Zin (Buenos Aires, 1971) had spent two decades as a war correspondent visiting the main war conflicts. For Africa, Latin America and Asia. Until one day it exploded. In the worst place: in Afghanistan in 2012. "I worked with Jon Sistiaga and I had a panic attack," he recalls. "I got out of the tank in which we were traveling, I threw everything and I started walking". He changed his career, faced the audiovisual in a different way and continued forward. "But in my head were the doubts of why that had happened to me," he confesses. From that moment, he was accompanied by suicidal thoughts, fear of small spaces and depressions. "I started to ask around and found out that many other war reporters were also going through it."

To talk about those evils, and pay homage to his former colleagues, Zin has filmed Die to tell, He has already gone through festivals such as Shanghai – of class A – and Montreal, where he won the first prize in the Documentary of the World section. "It is so difficult to make a documentary that you either answer questions that reveal or not work," says the filmmaker, the director of, among others, Born in Gaza (2014) and Born in Syria (2017), which has won a Platinum prize, a Forqué, several festivals and has twice been a Goya candidate. Now Die to tell begins its route of Spanish contests in the Semin which opens tomorrow, in which it participates in the DOC section. Spain, and later will be in the Seville contest before its commercial premiere on November 22.

For Zin, one of the great epidemics of the 21st century is mental illness. "Fear, paranoia … We live very comfortable in today's Europe and at the same time it is difficult to find balance in this society. What a paradox, right? " The journalist recognizes that for years, after that panic attack, he did not want to face the problem. "Until the wave caught me." Post-traumatic stress in its fullness. And so Die to tell It raises testimony of the work of several generations of correspondents, "of people who feel the shock of what counts during the conflict and on their return home," as Gervasio Sánchez, José Antonio Guardiola, Javier Espinosa, Mónica G. Prieto, Rosa Meneses, Ramón Lobo, Roberto Fraile, Maysún, David Beriain, Manu Brabo, Fran Sevilla, Carmen Sarmiento, Eric Frattini, Mónica Bernabé or Javier Bauluz. Among those names there are two Pulitzer prizes and many remember deceased companions.

Each one talks about his tricks to achieve success in his work (Zin, Argentinian by birth, gives Leo Messi photos dedicated, since it imitates his signature), to overcome the pain … "In the conflict everything is more white and black, you see victims and guilty; At home there are many more grays, "says the filmmaker, who praises all the contributions of his colleagues. "Everyone has revealed to me their secrets, they have confessed their greatest fears. I thank everyone for their effort. I was surprised by David Beriain because he has a very elaborate discourse about what happens to him. He was one of the last ones in front of the camera and when he finished I thought about the whole structure because I did not know where to include him, where to cut him ", he says before laughing:" He recommended me to his therapist and we shared it for a while ". Zin also talks about the serious message and at the same time Manu Brabo, who suffered a kidnapping in Libya in 2011.

Pains and fears

In Die to tell, Zin weaves the personal, ethical and professional reflections of the interviewees with their own pains and doubts. In the first montage of the documentary, he did not appear. "It was Nerea Barros, the co-producer, who told me not to hide from me, that I did not ask others to break the code of silence for collective reflection while I cowed. I do not like to get in front of the cameras, but I respect that others do it to personalize the stories and reach more people. " He was looking for answers, he did not have a speech ("just pains"), and only after the months and assembled the film, decided to agree with Barros and confess his story.

One last note. Zin defends the high quality of Spanish reporters, "especially photojournalists, to whom very little public knows; as in so many other things, Spain loves very little. " And he says: "Unfortunately, that quality has been paid with seven dead and several kidnappings."

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