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Dan Persons

Dan Persons

Posted: June 5, 2010 11:04 AM

Mighty Movie Podcast: Tougher Than You: Mark Hopkins on Living in Emergency

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It's getting to be that my fortitude is being tested on a weekly basis. I've witnessed the psychotic outrages of The Human Centipede (and liked it), the moral confrontation that is The Killer Inside Me (liked it), and the let's-put-The-Rock-in-a-tutu Tooth Fairy (you're kidding, right?). But all that was make-believe stuff. Living in Emergency is very real, a documentary, and at points can be rough going. But if you can work up the nerve to tough it out, your courage will be greatly rewarded.

'Course, if you want to talk about courage, you have to talk about the subjects of the film: four doctors who have volunteered to work for Doctors without Borders (aka Médecins Sans Frontières) in two, 2010-06-05-livinginemergency_kruegerexaminespatient_web_360.jpgwar-ravaged countries: the Democratic Republic of Congo and Liberia. Director Mark Hopkins -- making his feature documentary debut having previously produced numerous docs -- takes his cameras into the exam, operating, and break rooms, and doesn't flinch from showing both the staggering challenges the volunteers face, and the effect those challenges sometimes have on them (one doctor compares the attitude of another to Heart of Darkness -- that's never a good thing). The film winds up an unwavering, credible evaluation of why the organization has justly received a Nobel Peace Prize -- one of the best docs I've seen so far this year. It also reminded me why I need to stop whining when I have to watch movies like Tooth Fairy.

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