Going into the Golden Globe awards this weekend, one nominated film is highlighting the experience of being a woman in journalism, including the sacrifices, and ultimately, the important stories this kind of work reveals to the world. Rosmand Pike, playing the role of real-life journalistic heroine Marie Colvin has been nominated for the best actress award in a drama in the film, A Private War. In a time where Hollywood is projecting the stories of powerful yet inspiring women such as Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Tonya Harding and Katharine Graham, it only makes sense that the film A Private War (2018) joins the list of big screen knockouts. Both the movie A Private War, and Colvin’s journalistic work, share an important narrative in the role of female journalists in world conflicts.
Being a worldwide war correspondent takes a certain type of character — someone who’s tenacious, sacrificial and a megaphone for the voiceless. That is what Marie Colvin was known for in her work. Colvin, an American journalist, used her talents around the world, specifically in the Middle East, during major conflicts.
A Private War tells the story of Colvin’s greatest journeys in uncovering those war-time truths. Viewers not only view, first hand, how she gains her iconic eye patch after being hit by a grenade in Sri Lanka, but also follows Colvin to the frontlines of her coverage of the Arab Spring during 2011.
Through all her journeys Colvin was known to have both photojournalists Paul Conroy and Remi Ochlik by her side to capture the rich but devastating pictures of this human crisis. Conroy was with Colvin and French photojournalist Ochlik the day they lost their lives during an attack by President Bashar al-Assad’s forces in Homs, Syria. Conroy was fortunate to make it out of the attack with a huge leg wound, the mental scars of the trauma that the war brought, and an urge to tell his story to the world.
While recovering in the hospital, Conroy documented his experiences in the book Under the Wire which is now a documentary that was recently released. In an interview with The Irish News, Conroy explained the importance of sharing the events that happened in Syria especially given today’s political climate and the rise of “fake news.”
His consistent display of Colvin’s life paints the picture of the grunt work that goes into finding the truth and holding people in high power accountable. As he honored Colvin’s legacy during the screening of A Private War, he remembered her persistent spirit: “I have never worked with anyone or known anyone quite like that who will just keep going and going and going.”
Colvin’s motto, “Simply: There’s no way to cover war properly without risk…” has also inspired and paved the way for other fearless women to step up and fight for the truth overseas. Martha Gellhorn, Maggie O’Kane and Christiane Amanpour are all high-profile female journalists who have done important war-time work in the same vein of work Colvin has done.
Through the lives and careers of these fearless women, the playing field for who can participate in risky reporting is leveling out. In a time where facts are being altered and personal interests are getting in the way of a just democracy Colvin’s motto for journalism still rings true for people in her line of work: “Our mission is to speak the truth to power.”
Watch this weekend’s Golden Globe Awards this Sunday at 8pm EST.