At age 12, Robert Fisk saw Alfred Hitchcock’s Foreign Correspondent, and immediately knew what he wanted to be: a foreign correspondent.
For more than four decades, he has been reporting on some of the most violent and divisive conflicts in the world.
Director Yung Chang captures Fisk in action: feet on the ground, notebook in hand, as he travels into landscapes devastated by war. Translating his experience and observations into accurate, unbiased copy requires the tenacity to pursue the facts and separate them from the propaganda.
In an era of fake news, when journalists are dubbed “enemies of the people”, Fisk’s belief in accuracy has only hardened.
Fisk’s career has included reporting on Northern Ireland for The Times, the Middle East – including a very public move from The Times to The Independent when Rupert Murdoch bought The Times and started to censor Fisk’s reporting.
Toughened by his experiences, Fisk insists on maintaining an emotional distance from what he witnesses, arguing that you can’t report on an event if you’re completely overcome by it.
Paralleling the situation that many film festivals face this year, Fisk’s work moved online when The Independent ceased its print edition in 2016. Fisk argues it’s more important that the message trumps the medium, and that the tactile experience of a newspaper doesn’t match the internet’s ability to make reporting available immediately and globally.
The film’s title references Fisk’s dedication to truth. There isn’t always justice, or neatly-tied wrap-ups, or happy endings. But, like Fisk’s own work, This is not a Movie is a well-structured representation of well-researched, factual information.