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Living In Emergency - Movie Review (2010)

Stories of Doctors Without Borders

About.com Rating 4 Star Rating


Living In Emergency - Movie Review (2010)

Still from Living In Emergency

BEV Pictures
Filmmaker Mark Hopkins pays tribute to the dedicated doctors, nurses and support personnel who work for Medicines Sans Frontieres, the international NGO that provides health care in third world countries where medical treatment would be otherwise unavailable. Subtitled 'Stories of Doctors Without Borders,' the film follows several doctors as they save lives -- and sometimes cannot -- while coping with adverse and often dangerous conditions created by extreme poverty and political instability, including situations of civil war and genocide.

Heroes in A World-Wide Emergency Room

For the physicians who work with Doctors Without Borders (Medicines Sans Frontieres), the world is like a huge emergency room where life threatening diseases and severe physical ailments are rampant, while essential equipment and medicines are in short supply.

Living In Emergency reveals how doctors from varied backgrounds deal individually and as a group with the conditions of shocking poverty, filth and polution and ongoing warfare that put them in constant personal danger and make it extremely difficult for them to do their work effectively. Yet they persist. They invent and improvise, but are often tensions between them, and heartbreak when they see their patients die unnecessarily.

Using an observational style, filmmaker Mark Hopkins follows four physicians who are stationed in the war zones of Liberia and Congo. Their stories and struggles are absolutely gripping -- more harrowing than medical dramas. Collectively, they represent a revealing cross section of Doctors Without Borders volunteers, and offer insights about how the organization operates.

The nonfiction drama is backed up with statistics that show the vastness of public health problems around the world. It's also clear that Doctors Without Borders has a hard time keeping up with demands. So, the film serves not only as a tribute to the organization and its personnel, but also suggests that things won't change unless we all get involved in some way to make a difference. It's hard to watch this film and not at least reach for your wallet to make a contribution.

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Film Details

  • Title: Living In Emergency
  • Director: Mark Hopkins
  • Trailer
  • US Theatrical Release Date: June 4, 2010 (limited)
  • Running Time: 93 mins.
  • Parental Advisory: Content advisory for parents
  • Filming Locations: Beni, Democratic Republic Of Congo and other locations
  • Language: English and Swahili and French with English subtitles
  • Distribution Company: BEV Pictures

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