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Open Heart (2013)

Eight Rwandan children leave their families behind to embark on a life-or-death journey seeking high-risk heart surgery in Sudan. Their hearts ravaged by a treatable disease from childhood ... See full summary »

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 3 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »
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Eight Rwandan children leave their families behind to embark on a life-or-death journey seeking high-risk heart surgery in Sudan. Their hearts ravaged by a treatable disease from childhood strep throat, they have only months left to live. Open Heart reveals the intertwined endeavors of Dr. Emmanuel, Rwanda's lone government cardiologist fighting to save the lives of his young patients, and Dr. Gino, the Salam Center's head surgeon, who is fighting to save his hospital, Africa's only link to life-saving free cardiac surgery for the millions who need it. Written by Anonymous

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15 January 2013 (USA)  »

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Featured in The 85th Annual Academy Awards (2013) See more »

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Not my very favorite of the documentary shorts but I think it's the most likely to win.
2 February 2013 | by See all my reviews

Today I went to a special showing of the Academy Award Nominated Documentary Shorts. Surprisingly, all five of the nominees were very good. Not as surprising is that ALL were incredibly depressing films. After they ended, I wondered how many depressed folks see these five and then begin having suicidal thoughts! Yes, they were that depressing. Now having a depressing documentary is not a bad thing--often the films are about social problems and being depressing isn't bad. But ALL of them being depressing? Next year I wouldn't mind seeing at least one that isn't about old people waiting to die, cancer, homelessness, poverty or dying African children--like this year's crop! But, again, they ALL were quite good....

I really liked "Open Heart"--it's a good film and was my second favorite of the films nominated for this year's Oscar for Best Documentary Short. I think it's the most likely to win, as the topic of kids in Africa dying of heart conditions is one that is sure to touch the committee's heart--and, while I still preferred "Monday's at Racine", both films are deserving choices.

Much of the film is set in Rwanda. You soon learn that a serious problem on the continent is Rheumatic fever and the damage it does to children's hearts. Kids are dying or severely damaged simply because the drugs needed to treat the disease aren't widely available in these poor countries. A group of eight of the sickest kids and young adults in one Rwandan clinic have a last-ditch hope--that a free clinic in Sudan (2500 miles away) can cure them. This film then follows them to Sudan and you get to meet the fine people that run this facility.

It's hard to watch the film without getting sucked into the kids' lives--particularly the cute 6 year-old. And, the film is well made and kept my interest throughout. Well worth your time and God bless these people for the work they are doing.

UPDATE: Well, as usual, my prediction was wrong and "Innocente" won the Oscar in this category.


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