STF’s spring season kicks off with THE ENGLISH SURGEON. Posing after the Q&A: Thom Powers in his best English tweed (by way of a Vietnamese tailor); director Geoffrey Smith; and Henry Marsh, the surgeon who describes himself as a narcissist but comes off as an altruist – proving they’re not incompatible.
Read a full report of the film on the Britical blog, excerpted here:
After the film, Marsh gets up on stage for a brief Q & A. I want to ask him why, of all people, we see him in the film riding his bike without a helmet – but I decide this is a bit cheeky. Later, I chat with him in the bar, and, discovering that he trained the surgeon who treated my Mother, forget to enquire. I head home on the subway and remember something: he had admitted, unprompted, that surgeons are by necessity risk-takers, and, he laughed, “narcissists”. Maybe that’s the clue to the helmet thing. More importantly, though, his honest acknowledgement indicates a duality possessed by very few: the professional All Powerful God-in-a-white-coat half we know all too well. But in Henry Marsh we witness also that which is rare: a thing comprised of humility, empathy, responsibility. He clearly feels it is his duty as both a doctor and a human being to look an absolutely horrifying situation right in the face and not turn away. And after that, to just “get on with it”, to do whatever you can, however small, and however imperfectly, to make it better.
Director Geoffrey Smith with Simon Kilmurry, the head of POV where THE ENGLISH SURGEON will eventually be shown on PBS.