Prolific Czech documaker Helena Trestikova takes a page from Micheal Apted’s “Seven Up” playbook for “Women at the Turn of the Millennium — Nurses.” Tightly made, provocative pic follows young caregivers from 1989 to the present, providing a fascinating look at professional and personal choices made by women during a key decade in Czech history. Item will turn up at fests, with vigorous tube sales to follow.
Beginning at a Prague nursing school in 1989, Trestikova singles out some half-dozen candystripers who seem committed to the profession. They study, endure oral exams, treat elderly patients, and talk idealistically about the work being important and meaningful, Yet by 1996, most of the women have left nursing to pursue other professional and/or personal interests; one, Marketa, works in a shop because the salary is three times what she’d been making (the “hospital is for idealists,” she explains). Though assembled with a firm, even hand, pic suggests that societal emphasis on marriage and family plays a role in derailing professional ambition among women. Tech credits are a mixed bag, with scratchy older footage mixing nicely with contempo Betacam work via Zdenek Patocka’s crisp cutting.