Corentin Fohlen crouches behind a dumpster, gas mask strapped to his face. As tear gas canisters fly and protesters battle Cairo police, Fohlen walks through the chaos, calmly snapping one photo after another.
A BAPTISM OF FIRE follows Fohlen, 29, and several other young freelance photographers as they cover the Arab Spring uprisings. Filmed over four years, it is a gripping documentary that captures the routines and chaos of their daily lives -shooting photos as bullets fly, duct-taping "TV" to the side of a car, the women wrapping their underwear in duct tape to ward off potential sexual assaults.
As the film follows Fohlen from Egypt to Libya, home to France, and on assignment to South Sudan and Haiti, it captures the toll this work takes on him. And after a colleague is killed in Syria, he begins to question the value and meaning of the images he has devoted himself to capturing.
Meanwhile, as the number of freelancers grows, photographers in the field find themselves pushing harder, taking more risks-doing anything to capture that image that might land (as one of Fohlen's does) on the cover of Time.
"Risk your life to show the conflict and suffering of the world? This original documentary testifies to the passion of a photojournalism: Corentin, not yet 30-years-old, has already spent six years in the business. From the chaos of Cairo to Homs, from Haiti to Libya, we see him at work, equipped with a helmet, gas mask and bulletproof vest." —Le Monde
Best Documentary, 2015 Luchon Film Festival France
2015 International Festival of Audiovisual Programs (FIPA)
2015 GZDOC Film Festival China
2015 DOK Leipzig Film Festival
"Shot on the ground, in the heart of danger, the film exposes raw emotion, pain, reflection and laughter." —Les Inrocks
"One of the best documentaries of all time. [Director Jérôme Clément-Wilz] follows his friend through shells of bullets to bring to light the daily lives of these news junkies." —Vanity Fair, France