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During the seventies there was a great frameshift of the Swedish
healthcare system, resulting in the abandonment of the smaller rural
hospitals in favor of huge centralized university hospitals.
One of these faceless novel temples of medicine is portrayed as the fictional "Enskede sjukhus".
At the center of this story is an old man who suffers a heart attack and then embarks on a journey which spans the endless miles of the hospitals corridors, shuffled from one ward to another as more and more diagnoses are filed into his journal.
The title "Babels hus" (trans. "The house of Babel") is a poke at the contemporary situation in a system where the mighty professors work under the same roof as the lowliest janitors but have lost the ability to understand one another.
I was studying medicine when this was released on television. It was an
immediate classic and often discussed amongst us students but not just
amongst us - the whole Swedish society anxiously awaited each new
episode. Seldomly, if ever, has a television-series been so discussed
in Sweden. That it is not released on DVD is only remarkable if you
happen to believe that there is no censorship in present society,
otherwise it's more or less expected. The film is most critical against
market economy, hierarchies, social Darwinism - in short, it is
everything a film should be in those days but which they are not,
probably due to censorship in preproduction. Everything that was bad in
the society depicted in this film, has now gone from bad to worse. From
being a bad society, society has now become an abomination and can only
be referred to as just that: the abomination. The abomination survives
on censorship and this film is one of its victims.
I'm now writing 4 years later than the above and can gladly inform that it has arrived on DVD in Sweden. Seeing it now again, I have something to ad. The style in which it is filmed is kind of "documentary". Actors, who play the roles, are often interrupted in their actions in order to answer, directly to the camera, questions that are associated to their roles. In a way this is disrespectful to the film's plot and stresses that the plot is just a vehicle for the message and at times insufficient - hence the interruptions. In other words, this is how any film for grownups should be when it has something important to say.
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