Laura's Journey follows a young woman as she revisits Morocco, in an attempt to move on from the traumatic experience of being raped while working on a humanitarian project. Here, director Matteo Born speaks about the lessons he learnt through making the film and the limitations of documentary filmmaking in moving towards recovery.
Where did the idea to make a documentary about Laura’s journey come from?
Laura and I have known each other for more than ten years. We have always had a wonderful relationship. When she told me she had been raped during a humanitarian mission, I was totally devastated. And so, when she spoke to me about the idea of going back to the scene of the tragedy, I immediately offered to come with her. I almost felt like my camera and I could do justice to Laura.
How much of a challenge was it to tackle such a difficult subject with someone you know very well?
There is not a single day I don’t ask myself if making this documentary was a good idea. Before starting, I had an extremely precise idea of the film I wanted to shoot. Maybe too precise. Unfortunately, in Morocco, reality caught me up and the trip quickly turned into hell. This experience put a strong strain on our relationship. Maybe I should have accompanied Laura without my camera and simply have been there to support her through this difficult journey? That is a question I will ask myself for a very long time.
How did Laura react to seeing the finished film?
I honestly think I have never been as stressed as when I presented the film to Laura. At the end of the screening, she hugged me, and she comforted me. She told me that this was the most difficult experience we have shared, but in the end, it was definitely worth it. I’d like to believe she is right.
What did you learn from making this film, and what are you working on next?
For me, this documentary has truly been a life lesson. It completely destroyed all the wonderful certainties I had about my job of filmmaker. I questioned myself. I have understood the impact my camera could have on other people’s lives. I became aware of the responsibility of telling somebody’s story.
At the moment, I am preparing my next documentary. It is going to be an adventure film. For the moment, it is kind of a secret, but all I can tell you is that I am going to see loads of polar bears.