The English Surgeon | Chicago Reader

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Rated NR · 2009

This carefully observed BBC documentary (2007) profiles Henry Marsh, a London neurosurgeon who travels to Ukraine annually to volunteer his expertise. Arriving in Kiev like some black-hatted, bespectacled Father Christmas, he brings discarded but still functional medical equipment for his old friend, Dr. Igor Kurilets, and consults on a daunting workload of brain tumor cases. Director Geoffrey Smith gets extraordinarily close to the men, both physically (a crowded room where they operate on an epileptic man who's fully conscious) and emotionally (Kurilets functions warily in a post-Soviet bureaucracy where individual initiative is suspect and often punished; Marsh is haunted by a disastrous surgery years earlier, and his flashbacks offer poignant commentary on the possibilities, and limits, of modern medicine). In English and subtitled Russian and Ukrainian. 94 min. --Andrea Gronvall
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Director: Geoffrey Smith
Writer: Geoffrey Smith
Cast: Henry Marsh

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