Skip to main content

BETHUNE

Canada, 1965 (MIFF 1966, Programme 27)

Director: John Kemeny, Donald Brittain

Bethune's life has a legendary quality about it: as a roistering young doctor in the Twenties, he was struck down with T.B. and lost one lung. As a result, he put aside the flippancies of his youth and from then on dedicated his life to his profession. In Montreal he became known as a fine surgeon. In the Thirties, the fight against Fascism took him to Spain, where he set up the world's first mobile blood-transfusion service. In 1938 he joined Mao in Yenan to care for the Chinese wounded. In these 18 months he aged 20 years and at the age of 49, he died of a blood infection that conquered his weakened body.

The brilliant combined use of pictures and actual film result in a masterful recreation of the life of this man. With subtlety and superlative editing, the images have been linked with personal reminiscences to portray Bethune's personality: aristocratic, authoritarian yet impatient of authority, sybaritic, idealistic and possessed of immense energy. This moving study of a man who dedicated his life to humanity, is one of Canada's major film achievements.

See also...

VOLCANO: AN INQUIRY INTO THE LIFE AND DEATH OF MALCOLM LOWRY

Canadian novelist. Malcolm Lowry, wrote one of the major novels of this century, 'Under the Volcano', but is relatively little known outside university and literary circles. Volcano: An Inquiry into ... More »

Stress the World of Hans Selye

An examination of the concept of stress as experienced by a variety of people ranging from astronauts to pickpockets. The film is based on the findings of Prof. Hans Selye of the University of ... More »

NEVER A BACKWARD STEP

Portrait from life of Lord Thomson of Fleet, born 1894 Roy Thomson of Toronto, but now a financier with operations on a world scale. ... Center of the Thomson empire is London, England. Much of the ... More »

DREAMLAND

This film documents the history of the Canadian cinema from its earliest days to 1939. It contains generous excerpts from films produced during the period, and offers vigorous criticism of the ... More »

Kabuki

The Kabuki, the classical drama of Japan dates back some 350 years and is still performed today. During its long history, it has absorbed much of Japan's traditional entertainment arts and has always ... More »

ON THE COMET

Karel Zeman once again returns to the science-fiction fantasy world of Jules Verne, this time in a French fort in North Africa at the turn of the century. ... A young lieutenant is saved from the sea ... More »

Select a festival
Search The Film Archive
Browse By Director