Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Welcome to "All Saints" (2011)

"All Saints" is a Greek hospital. A hospital where funny things happen. Like in many Greek hospitals, more or less.  Several sectors are not running like the should in GR, some of them you see in the news, some others you don't; this is a film for the Greek Public Health System, a problematic and deficient one. Thanks to Sotiris Goritsas and his sense of humour, the tragicomic events that you will witness taking place in the film will only make you laugh at this time. They can still make you feel quite awkward, though, if you consider that they are not fictional at all.

Welcome to "All Saints" or Ap'ta Kokala Vgalmena as the Greek title goes -a sarcastic one, but the pun is not easy to explain- is a film based on true facts. What's more, it's based on a book with the same (Greek version of the) title by Dr. Giorgos Dendrinos, which exposes (well, not that we don't know already) the health system and Greek reality in general.

The Ciné-club hellénique or Greek Cine-club -which holds monthly Greek film screenings- is showing Welcome to "All Saints" today and tomorrow. Join me for the film and don't forget to come back to read more afterwards!AGENDA: Today, 24/1/12, 19.30 and tomorrow at 21.30, Utopia, Luxembourg. More INFO on their WebSite

RECAP: Kostas Berikopoulos, Anna Koutsaftiki, Minas Hatzisavvas are excellent in the lead roles, as doctors that struggle to be true to the Ippokratic oath, and practice their science in an ethical way, in the same time that they have to abide by the rules and regulations of the hospital. Hierarchy and  their own personal life  are also brought in the game, and the balance becomes quite unstable. One does not know how to prioritize in certain situations; is the personal equilibrium and well-being a valid case, or should the doctor be some kind of Superhero without human needs, only dedicated to save his patients? This is the dilemma that the young doctor, practising at the Orthopedic Clinic of "All Saints" a public Greek hospital, portrayed by Berikopoulos,  is dealing with. No solution comes easy, though.

Guest appearances of some of the best actors in Greek comedy and further, give a cosy feeling to the (Greek) audience and enhances the every-day hospital life with hilarious incidents and misunderstandings. Poor hospitalising conditions and services, a weary give-and-take attitude, a tendency to disrespect the rules and deviate from the obvious solutions in favour of personalised ones, makes the hospital life a big fat  Greek chaos. Which can be avoided, if only we (Greeks) could find a way out of our uber-flexibility first. Being strict is the answer. Stick to what you're told to or what you figured out that works. Don't change all the time. Or, not?

*The film left me utterly frustrated, facing the precarious Greek ways once more; out of the cinema, my frustration only increased, learning that our great director Theodoros Angelopoulos was being hospitalized (in a private hospital), due to a car accident that was proven lethal. He was gone already when I arrived home. Rest in Peace, Theo, a bit of my idealism has left with you yesterday night.


Fra said...

I should discover more the Cinematographic culture of the Greek cinema :)

Nice post!

estelle said...

Thank you, and, yes, you should. There is a lot of variety in the style and themes; Greek cinema is being discovered by many International Film Festivals lately, so it's the right time for you, as well ;)

DC said...

Thumbs up for this film. Very good performances from a well respected cast. Amazing sense of humor (difficult to translate though) and nice depiction of Greek public healthcare system (based on a true story)
Still, a very nice opportunity for non-Greeks to get a small idea of everyday life in Greece.

Important notes:
1. Not a high profile production (dont expect anything like the big fat wedding)
2. Despite the horridity of such a system, Greek doctors still save lives..and they do it very well..
3. Notice the kindness of all the people..Very nice way to help foreigners see behind the trendy anti-Greek propaganda. We are not thieves..Just grew up in a corrupt system. A system that was build with the kind help of Europe, upon the standards of countries currently in queue to face the debt crisis themselves.