Hospital Screen 6 articles

Hospital

1970

Hospital Poster
  • Set in New York’s Metropolitan Hospital, Frederick Wiseman’s feature-length documentary of 1969 is one of the most powerful in his continuing series of investigations of various American institutions. Most of the emphasis in this setting is given to the emergency ward and outpatient clinics.

  • No less than Cronenberg's, Wiseman's edifice is a churning organism, its heart still beats but now who listens to it -- patients and staff are together in mass by the end, a zoom out the building is followed by a pan onto the highway, the singing is drowned by traffic.

  • A gut wrenching series of encounters at the nexus between public and private spaces, the sad spectacle of desperate people ceding control of their lives in exchange for assistance. Full of grotesque moments of horror matched perfectly by equally inspiring instances of modest humanism, both the compassion and tired callousness of doctors, most notably in a scene where human brains are handled as carelessly as if they were tennis balls.

  • Documenting “do no harm” gone ad nauseam, Hospital is one of Wiseman’s great institutional portraits and great records of empathy... Hospital remains revealing, moving, and enduringly present.

  • With extraordinary access to trauma centers and operating rooms in Manhattan’s Metropolitan Hospital, [Wiseman] finds doctors saving lives with methods that require a strong stomach to witness. The film presents the human element of medicine—including the medical effects of urban life—and the seemingly superhuman contact with organs and wounds, which seems to put doctors in a world apart.

  • Before I began my own rotation at Metropolitan E.R., a friend passed me a copy of Wiseman’s Hospital (70). I watched in awe as a man on mescaline was fed ipecac, projectile regurgitating for what seemed forever. He yells, “Somebody in the park gave it to me!” He begs the staff to play calming music. It is as hilarious as it is touching—particularly when played in one’s mind over “Yakety Sax.” Wiseman gives us such moments frequently, the gravity inextricable from the levity.

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