The English Surgeon (image 1)

Screened as part of NZIFF 2008

The English Surgeon 2007

Directed by Geoffrey Smith

Inspiring and dramatic doco about Henry Marsh, celebrated British neurosurgeon who volunteers on the Ukraine. "Unforgettable portrait of a true humanitarian." — Time Out

UK In English
94 minutes DigiBeta



Graham Day


Kathy O‘Shea


Nick Cave
Warren Ellis


Henry Marsh
Igor Kurilets
Marian Dolishny


London 2007; San Francisco 2008


"What are we if we don‘t try to help others?" wonders Henry Marsh, the British neurosurgeon and self-deprecating hero of a documentary that is as dramatic, emotional and as richly populated as the best fiction. Marsh "helps others" by taking time off from Britain‘s NHS (where bureaucratic requirements drive him apoplectic) to donate his skills in the Ukraine. He has been on a mission to create a viable brain surgery clinic in Kiev for over a decade. Bearing the god-like status thrust upon him by his Ukrainian patients with sober good humour, he is totally and ingeniously engaged by the practicalities of saving lives. — BG

"This is one extraordinary documentary, approaching hugely emotive subject matter with nimble delicacy and, it has to be said, steely reserve when it comes to filming a brain operation performed under only local anaesthetic. A life-affirming, unforgettable portrait of a true humanitarian." — Trevor Johnston, Time Out