Vous voulez voir cette page en français ? Cliquez ici.


or
Sign in to turn on 1-Click ordering.
More Buying Choices
Have one to sell? Sell yours here

The English Surgeon

Henry Marsh , Surgeon , Geoffrey Smith;Producer    NR (Not Rated)   DVD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 26.99 & FREE Shipping. Details
o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o
Usually ships within 3 to 5 weeks.
Ships from and sold by Amazon.ca. Gift-wrap available.

Product Details


Product Description

Product Description

What is it like to have God like surgical powers, yet to struggle against your own humanity? What is it like to try and save a life, and yet to fail? Shot in a Ukrainian hospital full of desperate patients, The English Surgeon is an intimate portrait of brain surgeon Henry Marsh as he wrestles with the dilemmas of the doctor patient relationship, and openly confronts moral and ethical issues which touch every one of us.

Customer Reviews

4 star
0
3 star
0
2 star
0
1 star
0
5.0 out of 5 stars
5.0 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Who are we if we can't help! Aug. 12 2012
By Ian Gordon Malcomson HALL OF FAME TOP 10 REVIEWER
Format:DVD
By far this is one of the most meaningful human-interest documentaries I have ever watched. It breathes a transcending sense of compassion and humanity not found in too many films these days. On the one hand we have an English brain surgeon, Dr. Henry Marsh, who has dedicated himself to rendering medical assistance to impoverished Ukrainians who have been diagnosed with life threatening tumors. Originally motivated by a personal experience as a young father of not being able to help his baby son, who had a life-threatening brain mass, Marsh has over the last fifteen years reached into the lives of dozens of Ukrainians and given them fresh hope. Teaming up with an equally inspiring Ukrainian internist, Igor, Marsh has performed some incredibly delicate operations under the most primitive of conditions. What makes this film worth watching is the detailed attention it gives to the operational procedures. While perhaps not suitable watching for the faint of heart, "The English Surgeon" does highlight the difficult conditions under which this very skillful man works, with relatively little guarantee of reward. The filmmaker takes time to look at diagnosis, treatment and follow-up from the patients' vantage. Many enter Marsh's antiquated operating room with mixed hope, plenty of courage, and a strong resolve to pull through. While there are some who make it, others tragically don't like Tara and another desperate young lady with inoperable brain cancer. Their stories are included as a reminder of the incontrovertible truth of modern medicine that while it has the power to cure it does not have the power to withstand death regardless of how strong the human will is. Out of this despair comes a sense of compassion that Marsh is able to share because he has been there many times before. Read more ›
Was this review helpful to you?
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD
Winner of nine International Awards: Screen East Awards, Best Film & Best Documentary; Silver Docs, Best International Documentary; Hot Docs, Best International Documentary; Expresion en Corto, Best International Documentary; Shanghai TV Festival, Best International Documentary; Kos Health Film Festival, Audience Award; Sheffield DocFest, Audience Award; Docudays Kyiv, Audience Award; and, Zagreb, Audience Award.

Approximately an hour and a half in length, the English Surgeon was funded by: The Ford Foundation; The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation; and The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. Additional funding was provided by: Wellcome Trust; CBA-DFID Broadcast Media Scheme; and YLE TV2 Documentaries.

Although the DVD jacket cautions viewers that the contents may not be appropriate for all and that viewer discretion is advised, I must caution readers that once you start watching this DVD, you'll be mesmerized by not only the engrossing storyline, but also by the techniques and extremely fine professional work by all who partook in the production of this documentary.

For those expecting to view one and a half hours of brain surgery, you'll be disappointed (the actual neurosurgery doesn't begin until almost an hour into the film, and then segments are briefly shown for a few seconds at a time, lasting about ten minutes in totality). The surgery itself is a segment of the story rather than being a documentary about the procedures of brain surgery. Regular viewers of TV series such as NCIS or CSI regularly see scenes that are very much more graphic/squeamish than those depicted in this film.

The beauty of this documentary is in its presentation--you forget that you're watching a documentary as you get immersed in the stories told.
Read more ›
Was this review helpful to you?
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  21 reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful documentary that everyone should see Sept. 9 2009
By Robert C. Ross - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
My wife (who has had three operations on an inoperable brain tumor) and I found this a fascinating, moving documentary when we watched it on PBS last night. Both surgeons impressed us with their humanity and with the terrible difficulty they face in delivering bad news to patients and in practicising world class medicine in the Ukraine. A remarkable irony: the featured operation was done in a former KGB building; the KGB had hasseled the Ukrainian surgeon for several years for providing unauthorized medical services.

The comments on the PBS website devoted to this film reflect a wide range of deep emotions that many viewers felt as they watched and reflected on this documentary. The film maker's description of Mr. Marsh is right on the money in my opinion: "He is firstly an artist and then a surgeon. He's willing to look at surgery and surgeons. He's prepared to be vulnerable ... He's the very opposite of the arrogant, repressed surgical model."

Incidentally, the correct way to address a member or fellow of The Royal College of Surgeons is to use the title Mr, Miss, Mrs, or Ms (not Dr). This system (which applies only to surgeons, not physicians) has its origins in the 16th century, when surgeons were barber-surgeons and did not have a medical degree (or indeed any formal qualification), unlike physicians, who held a University medical degree.

The documentary honored (honoured?) this usage, and my wife and I honor both physicians. A wonderful film from our favorite television station.

PBS has put together a wonderful website devoted to this film (link in first comment).

Robert C. Ross 2009
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not "The English Patient" (award-winning movie), but "the English Surgeon" (award-winning documentary)--riveting, masterful Oct. 23 2009
By Yaroslava Benko - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
Winner of nine International Awards: Screen East Awards, Best Film & Best Documentary; Silver Docs, Best International Documentary; Hot Docs, Best International Documentary; Expresion en Corto, Best International Documentary; Shanghai TV Festival, Best International Documentary; Kos Health Film Festival, Audience Award; Sheffield DocFest, Audience Award; Docudays Kyiv, Audience Award; and, Zagreb, Audience Award.

Approximately an hour and a half in length, the English Surgeon was funded by: The Ford Foundation; The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation; and The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. Additional funding was provided by: Wellcome Trust; CBA-DFID Broadcast Media Scheme; and YLE TV2 Documentaries.

Although the DVD jacket cautions viewers that the contents may not be appropriate for all and that viewer discretion is advised, I must caution readers that once you start watching this DVD, you'll be mesmerized by not only the engrossing storyline, but also by the techniques and extremely fine professional work by all who partook in the production of this documentary.

For those expecting to view one and a half hours of brain surgery, you'll be disappointed (the actual neurosurgery doesn't begin until almost an hour into the film, and then segments are briefly shown for a few seconds at a time, lasting about ten minutes in totality). The surgery itself is a segment of the story rather than being a documentary about the procedures of brain surgery. Regular viewers of TV series such as NCIS or CSI regularly see scenes that are very much more graphic/squeamish than those depicted in this film.

The beauty of this documentary is in its presentation--you forget that you're watching a documentary as you get immersed in the stories told. As filmmaker, Geoffrey Smith (nominated by The Directors Guild of America for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Documentary for 2009), tells: "this is the story of three men, two of whom have a profound relationship, a friendship, and the third one, known as a patient...they all journey to Kyiv...the film follows them through a journey--an operation, and on to recovery." In the process, the film concentrates more on Dr. Marsh as a surgeon--what his life is like, the difficulties and joys of his work, as well as the emotional conflicts encountered. Additionally, throughout the documentary, some of the other cases on which Dr. Marsh is working are shown; each case is different, as is each prospect.

Although the English Surgeon immediately captures and captivates audiences, as if watching a film, this isn't a work of fiction--it's a documentary portraying real-life experiences, and as such, you pay acute attention, for it's about a possibility that could affect not only you, your family, friends, acquaintances, and neighbors, but also strangers you may occasionally pass in public places. Dr. Marsh loves using his hands, and he loves using tools--he utilizes both very aptly, as they complement his life's chosen career and occupation.

The characters in this film are the real-life souls narrating their personal life scripts--the surgical team, the patients, the hospital staff, the family members, and others. Not only is the story personal in a very real sense, but the scenes are varied (taking place in a hospital, in a physician's home, traveling through the countryside, visiting a patient's home, etc.) with film footage from two countries, the variety and pace of this documentary become all the more engrossing and enthralling.

This is a film of contrasts: a fireplace in England vs. a fireplace in Ukraine; a religious photo on a calendar in an English hospital (St. Georges Hospital in London) vs. a large embroidered tapestry with a prayer hanging on a wall (in addition to religious icons on walls) in a Ukrainian hospital (Lipska Hospital in/near Zolochiv); inputting data on a computer in England vs. talking over the phone in Ukraine; and, dozing off on a chair in England vs. walking through a sleeping car on a train in Ukraine.

Albeit in English (without subtitles), whenever Ukrainian is spoken, English subtitles are provided.

Dr. Marsh's personal story had a direct bearing/impact on the future direction that his life would take. When his son, as a baby, had a brain tumor, Dr. Marsh found himself desperate for someone to help him. And, later, as he said, he couldn't "walk away from that need in others." This is the story of that segment of Dr. Marsh's life which portrays his 15-year friendship with Ukrainian surgeon, Dr. Ihor Kurilets, his Ukrainian experiences, and his never-ending reaching out and helping others. He not only didn't walk away from others in need; when necessary, he got on a plane in pursuit of fulfilling his altruistic goals. His compassion and caring are truly an inspiration to all who learn his story.

His seventeen-year love affair with Ukraine started in 1992, when Dr. Marsh first stepped on Ukrainian soil--he had been asked to give lectures on brain surgery. On his last day of that first trip, Dr. Marsh visited a state hospital in Kyiv where he saw that there was no equipment, no electricity, patients were left to die, and where he was "appalled to see a completely broken down medical system." That was in 1992--that was what the Soviet government had left Ukraine as a legacy. Ukraine had gained her independence a few months earlier on August 24, 1991--that much needed to be repaired and rebuilt, both spiritually and materially, was without a question. That last day, Dr. Marsh also met Dr. Kurilets (who told him, "Dr. Marsh, we need you. We need change.")--and a deep friendship ensued.

Over the years, each time that Dr. Marsh visited Ukraine, it was with a new idea, with a new medical instrument, and, as Ukrainian surgeon Kurilets stated, "it was not as a medical cooperative effort, but it was much deeper--it was as if Dr. Marsh was my elder brother."

As a prelude to the brain surgery, we're given a glimpse of the preparations that were under way both in England and in Ukraine. In one scene, Dr. Kurilets enters a room at Lipska Hospital in Ukraine, walks up to a colorful painting, which hangs on one of the hospital's walls, and states: "it's my favorite painting, heroes--Kozaks." And, we can compare Kozaks with us. There are many similarities with us because they are happy--because they won the battle. And, the same happened with us up to the successful stages. Sometimes, I suggest that I'm at this place (pointing to a place in the painting). And, my colleagues (pointing in a circular motion around the circumference of the table in the painting) are sitting around the table--and, by the way, the table means in surgery quite something--Kozak's table--but it can be a surgical table, also. So, they are happy around the table, and we are also happy and unhappy around the neurosurgical table. So, I like it very, very much."

The patient with a brain tumor is Marian, who lives in Zolochiv, 400 kms (248.5 miles) west of Ukraine's capital, Kyiv. Marian's preparations for surgery allow the viewer some glimpses into Ukrainian life: a pleasing, pastel pastoral scene, which includes the exterior of a Ukrainian church steeped in snow, when Marian visits his Ukrainian parish church to pray for a successful surgical outcome; a choir singing, as the interior is seen. (In Ukrainian churches, pews didn't exist--people would stand for up to four hours during services.)

If I, personally, needed brain surgery, or knew someone who did, this is the DVD that I would want to see, and would heartily recommend to others--for it informs as it lessens any anxiety about the procedures. A must-see documentary and testament to the work of a selfless living hero, the English Surgeon is definitely worth five stars plus, and should be in libraries, both public and personal worldwide!

Addendum: Readers, you're invited to visit each of my reviews--most of them have photos that I took in Ukraine (over 600)--you'll learn lots about Ukraine and Ukrainians. The image gallery shows smaller photos, which are out of sequence. The preferable way is to see each review through my profile page since photos that are germane to that particular book/VHS/DVD are posted there with notes and are in sequential order.

To visit my reviews: click on my pseudonym, Mandrivnyk, to get to my profile page; click on the tab called review; scroll to the bottom of the section, and click on see all reviews; click on each title, and on the left-hand side, click on see all images. The thumbnail images at the top of the page show whether photos have notes; roll your mouse over the image to find notes posted.

Also, you're invited to visit my Listmania lists, which have materials sorted by subject matter.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Masterful film-making... July 10 2011
By mcandan - Published on Amazon.com
Stunning direction, perfectly matched original soundtrack and beautiful editing all work seamlessly to pull back the curtain on what two men, neurosurgeons from the UK and the Ukraine, are doing to not only serve their patients as best they can but to serve their own passion.

Informative, inspirational, motivating...

A beautiful film.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars May not be suited for particularly squeamish viewers, but deserves the highest recommendation to all others Nov. 16 2009
By Midwest Book Review - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
The English Surgeon is the award-winning documentary of a real-life hero - London brain surgeon Henry Marsh, who has strived for over 17 years to save lives in the Ukraine. Forced to work with outdated and sometimes malfunctioning equipment, Marsh has a powerful motivation for his work - his son was diagnosed with a brain tumor as a baby, and Marsh has never forgotten how dearly he needed help at the time. Now he gives freely of his skills and expertise to others; his calling is preserved in this absorbing and memorable presentation. Due to sometimes explicit medical scenes, The English Series may not be suited for particularly squeamish viewers, but deserves the highest recommendation to all others.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just Fantastic April 21 2014
By G. Charles Steiner - Published on Amazon.com
This is a documentary that is guaranteed to move each viewer emotionally.

It shows what life is like in the Ukraine for many of the working poor, and it provides no Disney-like feel good moments, although there is one central episode that is highly charged and good however much it is surrounded by grim risks and unbeatable losses.

This documentary also displays a realistic portrait of a man trying to do some good in the world with his limited means and his own peculiar attitudes, a realistic portrait of a man who certainly does care and seeks to help others purposefully as much as he is able.

This documentary is well-done and, despite its grim realism, also very heart-warming.
Search Customer Reviews
Only search this product's reviews

Look for similar items by category


Feedback