Médecins de coeur

Alternative Title: 
Doctors with Heart

Issues & Themes: 

Tahani Rached’s underrated AIDS film, is no doubt the most ambitious and accomplished of consciousness-raising films made about the AIDS crisis in Canada. Rached’s NFB-produced French-language consciousness-raising epic came somewhat later than the initial energy and urgency of the AIDS audiovisual wave had wound down. Nevertheless, this portrait of a clinic of burnt-out (mostly gay) Montreal doctors at ground zero of the national AIDS crisis opting for a therapeutic palaver is a masterpiece of its kind. Rached, the veteran social issue documentarist of the French program, is at the listening post as the doctors with heart hash out professional ethics and personal values and responsibility. So are we, for this film offers as much, if not more, talk than perhaps any other NFB film. Though the Globe and Mail found the film “pretty dull viewing,” the magic of the doctors with heart works for spectators with heart: the subjects visibly achieve individual grace and catharsis, as well as collective strength, and so do we. One of the gay doctors himself dies of AIDS during the shoot, and the film unexpectedly switches gears, with Tahani’s poetic refrain of Montreal’s AIDS memorial park throughout the seasons suddenly heightening its concrete elegiac force and the doctor’s funeral service closing a reflective, analytic film with a gush of emotion. (R of T, 309-311)