Welcome to Hadassah Hospital

Dutch helmer Ramon Gieling's look at the famed Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem accents the ironies and symbolic hopes embodied in a facility where terrorists are treated just down the hall from their victims. Yet pic lacks edge or focus, unable to translate its interesting editing ideas into riveting imagery.

Dutch helmer Ramon Gieling’s look at the famed Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem accents the ironies and symbolic hopes embodied in a facility where terrorists are treated just down the hall from their victims. Yet pic lacks edge or focus, unable to translate its interesting editing ideas into riveting imagery. Still, hot subject matter, largely English dialogue, a positive view of Israel and the genial charm of pixie-ish, bigger-than-life Dr. Avi Rivkind, pic’s guiding spirit, assure sympathetic American auds. The 55-minute length will limit docu to homevid and TV unless double-billed with a companion piece.

Film tracks amicable working partnerships between Jewish and Arab caregivers, their professional bond providing an obvious contrast to the daily violence inflicted by both sides. Odd tonal shifts include scenes placed at regular intervals where Israeli and Palestinian staff members pause to recount mood-breaking sick war jokes. And, in pic’s bizarre coda, bloody bodies strewn around in the aftermath of disaster arise, pick up their scattered limbs and reveal themselves as hospital personnel making a medical training film.

Welcome to Hadassah Hospital

Holland

Production: A VPRO/Pieter van Huystee Film production. Produced by Pieter van Huystee. Directed, written by Ramon Gieling.

Crew: Camera (color, DV), Ton Peters; editor, Govert Janse. Reviewed at Human Rights Watch Film Festival, New York, June 15, 2003. English, Hebrew, Arabic dialogue. Running time: 55 MIN.

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