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12° Nicosia,
28 May, 2024
 
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Award-winning director Nick Broomfield talks of his carefree life in Nicosia

Mr. Broomfield is featured in Kathimerini's 'The Stories Next Door'

by Paris Dimitriades

Nick Broomfield, now 74, is revered among documentary professionals in the United Kingdom and beyond. We are certainly talking about an iconic, influential, and internationally renowned documentary filmmaker - he has been honored twice with a BAFTA, among many others - who leaves a strong imprint on the seventh art as the documentary filmmaker who invented his personal, radical genre, which has relied on directorial simplicity and immediacy, on the one hand, and the devil in the detail, on the other.

So, what is it about such a personality that makes it a... next-door story?

"It's like Superman talking to Spiderman," was written in an apt comment under a BBC interview with Louis Theroux, and how else, given that Nick Broomfield is the man behind documentaries such as Soldier Girls, which made BAFTA history in 1981, the provocative and courageous Battle for Hatitha, which investigated civilian massacres in Iraq, and Whitney: Can I Be Me," which follows Whitney Houston on her 1999 tour. And there are dozens upon dozens more.

"In the editing process," noted British journalist John Carlin once wrote of Nick Broomfield's unique documentary filmmaking style, "he tends to leave in what everyone else would take out."

So, what is it about such a personality that makes it a... next-door story?

"Hello, my name is Nick Broomfield, and while I usually travel for work and documentaries, I'm here this time because my ten-year-old son, Charlie, has enrolled in a local school this year because his mother is from Cyprus. We thought it would be a good idea for the boy to visit this beautiful island and learn some Greek "Broomfield told us the other day, during a delightful and completely light-hearted conversation in the preserved house he rents in this episode of his life in the Archdiocese area.

In fact, he told us that he's having a great time in Cyprus because it's one of the few times he's been somewhere without having to work.

"When you're making a documentary, I think you want people to be unpretentious, comfortable, and willing to share things with you."

In an interview with K, Nick Broomfield says, "It's almost stupid to think of yourself or anyone else as a star, especially in the documentary business," and while he is understandably flattered by such remarks, he simply gets tired and bored with himself.

"When you're making a documentary, I think you want people to be unpretentious, comfortable, and willing to share things with you," he replies in relation to what makes a documentary "good". "The less strict, formulaic, and invading you are, the better," he says.

Broomfield's perspective on the value of investigative journalism, which can be accomplished through feature-length documentaries rather than daily print news reporting, is noteworthy.

He explains that while researching for a documentary, one has the time and opportunity to identify contradictions and oddities, as well as present all shades of grey. Print (news) coverage of events, on the other hand, he believes, is much more black and white. "Usually, it's one or the other. You don't have time to deal with a fascist who was also a very loving and caring wife, for example."

The documentary filmmaker describes more memorable moments from his decades of fascinating experiences - he has published 40 documentaries in total - as well as how he spends a day in Cyprus.

[This article was translated from its Greek original]

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Cyprus  |  Nicosia

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