Breaking this unintentional hiatus to tell you (read: shout from the rooftops) that I have watched Doc-u-mentally and
I wrote about the crowdfunder for this documentary last year: a “labour of love” that would follow five young South African doctors during one 30 hour call.*
And they made it. And it was wonderful.
I had the pleasure of watching this film at a screening organised by JUDASA this past week, and I was glued to the screen (projector) from the opening shot. So was the rest of the audience.
The five young doctors that were filmed were really fun to watch. The diversity had the potentialto feel a little bit forced, but the producers made it clear from the beginning that it would be “five doctors, five cultures”. They were all great in front of the camera, their personalities entertaining, their emotions real.
I am no film-critic, but I thought the videography was fantastic. This was not an amateur film. Every shot is purposeful. I loved the focus on little things – especially the hands of the doctors.**
I enjoyed the balance of seriousness and humour – because, let’s face it, there is a lot of humour in medicine – even if a lot of it is dark humour.
As a junior doctor, this film gave me something to connect with. It made me feel seen. It made me feel connected to other doctors around the country. We know, rationally, that we are not alone, but sometimes it is hard to believe that we are not the only struggling doctor who sometimes questions their sanity.
It made me realise that even if our petitions sometimes fall on unwilling ears, we are not unheard.
I think that for medical students (current and prospective), this film will be a real look into their future. I think for some it may be a wake-up call. But I also think that for some, it will be an inspiration. Some will feel less alone. Some will realise that they are in the right field after all. And some will decide they are definitely in the wrong field, and that’s okay too.
I took two non-medical friends with me to the screening. They seemed to enjoy it too. They said it was intense. Maybe a little bit gory for those sensitive to blood – but nothing too horrible. Maybe a little bit sad. They both said afterwards that even though I had explained to them what being “on call” meant, they hadn’t really understood – but now, they did.
I want every medical student and doctor to see this. Also the older doctors.
I want the non-medical public to see this. Families of doctors. Families of patients. Politicians – or am I asking too much?
My only complaint is that this is not yet available for sale to the public. I want my own copy!
I hope you will watch it. Below I have linked the upcoming screenings I have been able to find:
Wits Medical School 22 September 2017 (not sure if both Wits dates are confirmed)
*For the life of me, cannot find that post now. It shows up in my searches but I can’t seem to access it. Help?!
**Only after drafting this post did I read that Andre Meyer from Meyer Productions won the SAFTA for Best Cinematography for this film in March this year.