“Don’t Breathe” from the 2014 Toronto Film Festival

Director Nino Kirtadze had no idea the patient education tool she created in the somewhat engineered documentary film, Don’t Breathe–a film intended as a study in the fragility of human nature. From my seat, however, the story she captured only further illuminates how in-the-dark many patients remain when it comes to their own health, and the care they receive. While the trailer alone tells the story many intimate to healthcare live each day, discussion after the film revealed the team had no intention of using it to educate patients–even as the gentle main character traveled from one doctor to another, enduring professional and unprofessional examinations, his diagnosis becoming more and more ridiculous, almost comical, and all too close to reality in many circles of care. Almost comical that is, if you ignore the fact this man was experiencing in “real life,” the fear which accompanies any suggestion by a healthcare professional that one might need surgery, have heart disease or worse.

How can this story, or even simply the film trailer, be used to educate patients on the need to speak up and ask questions about what their healthcare professional may or may not be telling them?

And as a related aside, I give the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), and Toronto, 5 glowing stars. The line-up of film premieres, number of A-List attendees, quality of venues and restaurants all within walking distance, and the ability to see the top films, were unmatched by past experiences at Sundance or the Chicago Film Festivals. Next year will be TIFF’s 50th Anniversary, and I look forward to returning. On the bucket list next, Cannes!

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One Comment on ““Don’t Breathe” from the 2014 Toronto Film Festival”

  1. Michael L. Millenson says:

    Just looking at the “D” films, I can’t wait to see the one about the cultural history of the gay voice and the tale of Noah’s Ark from the point of view of the animals!


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