In the war-zones of Liberia and Congo, four volunteers with Doctors Without Borders struggle to provide emergency medical care under extreme conditions. With different levels of experience, each volunteer must find their own way to face the challenges, the tough choices, and the limits of their idealism. "Living in Emergency" is a window into the seldom portrayed and less-than glamorous side of humanitarian aid work. It explores a world that is challenging, complex, and fraught with dilemmas - the struggles, both internal and external, that aid workers face when working in war zones and other difficult contexts. Written by
Red Floor Pictures
Doctors Without Borders (Medecins Sans Frontieres, "MSF") is an independent medical relief agency, offering assistance to populations in crisis irrespective of race, religion, creed, or politics. Established in 1971, it has become the world's largest independent provider of emergency medical relief, operating in over 70 countries throughout the world. In 1999 it was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for its pioneering humanitarian work. See more »
I recently saw this at the 2009 Palm Springs International Film Festival This documentary chronicles the experiences of a few different doctors from different countries and backgrounds who volunteer to be part of the Doctors Without Borders or MSF (Medecins Sans Frontieres) program that offers medical services to more than 70 different countries around the world in mostly war-torn and third world nations where their services are at a premium. These people risk their lives as well as their sanity under extreme M*A*S*H-like conditions to provide health care and surgical services in areas where non exist. Director Mark Hopkins and his film crew were given unprecedented access into the organization in a shooting schedule that took two years. Hopkins was on hand for an audience Q&A at my screening. The editing process to get two years of film into a 93 minute documentary must have been monumental. Editor Sebastian Ischer and Hopkins deserve a lot of credit into the making of this film. There are several disturbing medical scenes if you are queasy but not a lot so you can avert your eyes for a moment or two. The psychological effect that the work has on some of the doctors filmed is of course expected yet unexpected at times. This is Hopkins debut feature and the the film has no voice-over narration by a narrator and all narration is interview-style dialog from the participants in addition to on screen written narrative descriptions and information. This is a very educational film that I would recommend and give it a 7.5 out of 10.
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