Triage: Dr. James Orbinski's Humanitarian Dilemma

Directed by Patrick Reed

> > Nov 2009

Triage: Dr. James Orbinski's Humanitarian Dilemma - Directed by Patrick Reed
By Allan TongNot to be confused with the new Colin Farrell drama by the same title about a war photographer, Triage is a documentary profiling Toronto, ON's James Orbinski, the former president of the internationally respected Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Frontiers), whose members risk their lives serving in war zones and famines. In the '90s, Orbinski worked as a field doctor during the Somali famine, the Rwandan genocide and other hells on Earth. The same producers that brought us the acclaimed Shake Hands With The Devil, also about the Rwandan genocide, present a similar story with Triage. He is unflinching upon returning to these haunts, vividly reflecting upon the failure of humanity and his mortality. "It could have been me," he says about an MSF colleague who was killed. His return to Rwanda a decade after the slaughter is the most memorable part of the film. His memory of a dying woman raped and butchered (her ears and breasts hacked off) is truly moving. Though this is a good documentary, at times Orbinski's voiceover can be suffocating, overstating the point, and he already addresses the camera throughout the entire film. The movie needs other voices in places and more footage of survivors, colleagues and family. The DVD offers over 30 minutes of bonus features, including PSAs for medical humanitarian organizations MSF and Dignitas International. While those are pretty much commercials for these noble causes, they pale next to the two outtakes. In a haunting one, Orbinksi visits the Gisozi Genocide Memorial in Rwanda with a man whose entire family was butchered. In "Rape As A Weapon of War," Orbinski visits Goma in Congo, meeting with victims of gang rape at the hands of the militia. The bonus features do justice to a well-crafted documentary.
(Mongrel Media)
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