Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The Waiting Room

I was glad I attended a preview screening of The Waiting Room, a cinema verité documentary about a day in the overflowing ER of Oakland's Highland Hospital. The filmmakers often seem to be right in the subjects' faces, & stories develop around a handful of scared, uninsured patients. Both patients & staff come out looking heroic. A carpet-layer with excruciatingly painful bone spurs stays up-beat, despite receiving nothing besides vicodin & a bill he can't afford. Dr. Douglas White is one dude of a doctor, & intake nurse Cynthia Y. Johnson is a geyser of compassion, even when chewing out a young man for his bad language. The film is deeply sobering, like being doused with a bucket of cold water.

The Waiting Room will be screened at the 55th San Francisco International Film Festival on Saturday, April 21 at 3:50p at the PFA & Monday, April 30 at 1:00p & Tuesday, May 1 at 6:30pm at the Kabuki. Director Peter Nicks & some of the film's subjects are expected to attend.

§ The Waiting Room
director, Peter Nicks
USA, 2011, 81 min

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