Patients’, doctors’ and nurses’ stories at the London Film Festival (7-18 October 2015)

‘The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly’

Patients’, doctors’ and nurses’ stories at the London Film Festival (7-18 October 2015)

October is the time of the year when the London Film Festival (LFF) brings the best of British and World cinema to film lovers in London. Screening 238 fiction and documentary feature films, the LFF offers a lot of entertainment as well as food for thought for patients, doctors, nurses, other healthcare professionals, humanitarians and ethicists.

Films such as “Mediterranea” (Italy, France, USA 2015) explores the plight of African immigrants in Europe, “He named me Malala” (USA, 2015) chronicles the brave fight of Malala Yousafzai against the Taliban regime campaigning for women education, and “3000 nights” (Palestine, France, Jordan, Lebanon, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, 2015) portrays the hardships endured by Palestinian political prisoners in Israeli jails.

“Fifty” (Nigeria, 2015) manages to go behind operating theatres and lecture halls into the personal life of an eminent obstetrics consultant by exposing her personal life, and how a successful professional career can mask an unhappy existence. The opposing ethical dilemmas of “pro-life” and “pro-choice” in teen-age pregnancy are explored in “Flapping in the middle of nowhere” (Vietnam, France, Germany, Norway, 2014).

Mental illness and depression following bereavement is the theme explored in “The wait” (Italy, 2015), while eating disorders are subject to cinematic interpretation in “My skinny sister” (Sweden, German, 2015).

Terminal illness and cancer form the background of patients’ stories in “Truman” (Spain, Argentina, 2015), “James White” (USA, 2015), and “Chronic” (Mexico, France, 2015).

The intriguing world of comatose patients and how carers, families, doctors and nurses communicate with patients and in some instances abuse them is the subject of “Cemetery of Splendour” (Thailand, UK, France, 2015), and “Madonna” (South Korea, 2015).

There is also an old classic “The raging moon” (UK, 1971) which was one of the early films that featured young disabled people as leading characters in a mainstream film.

“Chemsex” (UK, 2015) a documentary film delves into the underworld of drug use in HIV positive men in London, while drug addiction amongst teen-agers in Algeria is the set for “Madame Courage” (Algeria, France, 2015).

The ugly side of corruption in medical insurance companies is explored in “A monster with a thousand heads” (Mexico, 2015), and the rarely seen world of mortuary workers is seen in “The corpse of Anna Fritz” (Spain, 2015).

Whether you are a patient, or a healthcare professional, you will be spoilt for choice from the stories unfolding on the screen at the LFF.

Review by Dr Khalid Ali, “Screening room” editor

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