Depression, foster families and the shanty towns of Nanterre… Roschdy Zem’s confidences

Depression, foster families and the shanty towns of Nanterre… Roschdy Zem’s confidences
Depression, foster families and the shanty towns of Nanterre… Roschdy Zem’s confidences

The 58-year-old actor, who stars inElyas Wednesday, spoke openly in an interview with The Sunday Tribune.

His depression, his placement in a foster family, the slums of Nanterre, his failure at school… Wednesday on the posterElyasa film by Florent-Emilio Siri in which he plays a former special forces soldier, Roschdy Zem, 58, talks about his difficult childhood. In an interview with The Sunday Tribune the actor returned to the heavy depression he went through during his adolescence, pushing him to mutilate himself.

Roschdy Zem was born in Gennevilliers, in Hauts-de-Seine, in 1965. Less than a year later, while his family was living “in the slums of Nanterre, without water, without electricity”he was placed in a Belgian foster family. “Secours catholique offered to my parents to relieve them of a child while their living conditions improve.he says in the columns of the newspaper. And it fell on me. It was easier to place an 18-month-old baby than a 4-year-old.”

“Children lost to society”

It was only at the age of eight, as soon as his biological family had access to public housing in Drancy, that young Roschdy was able to return home. At school and in everyday life, he was classified as “among the children lost to society. “That’s the image I sent back at the time, that of a wanker but never violentremembers the actor. Looking back I realize I was in a total depression. I needed to sleep, to do nothing.”

The discomfort he felt at the time resulted in self-harm. One might think that suicidal thoughts crossed his mind. “Never”, he decides. “This is what distinguishes those who mutilate themselves from others. We are not trying to disappear, just to suffer.continues the actor. In suffering, I become organic because I am in pain. It’s this need to feel alive that is the opposite of any form of desire to end one’s life.”

Not wanting to be “a burden” for his family, Roschdy Zem wanted to join an air base in Nîmes. But “A friend offered me a job at the Saint-Ouen flea market and my life took a completely different turn.”he admits. He discovered theater a few years later and landed his first film role in 1987, in the police comedy The cops by Josiane Balasko. More than a hundred films to his credit, seven César nominations… The public already knows what happens next.

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