The English Surgeon

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The English Surgeon
Directed by Geoffrey Smith
Produced by Geoffrey Smith
Starring Henry Marsh, Igor Petrovich Kurilets
Music by Nick Cave
Warren Ellis
Edited by Kathy O'Shea
Release date
  • 1 October 2007 (2007-10-01)
Running time
93 minutes
Country United Kingdom
Language English

The English Surgeon is a documentary film, which premiered at the London Film Festival on 1 October 2007.


The film was shot in a Ukrainian hospital full of desperate patients and makeshift equipment, but it is not a medical film—it is about Henry Marsh, and his partnership with Ukrainian colleague Igor Petrovich Kurilets, and their struggle with moral, ethical and professional issues.[1]

Henry's emotional journey takes him to visit the mother of a young girl he couldn't save some years ago, intercut with the current dilemma of a young man called Marian, dying of a brain tumour said to be inoperable in Ukraine. Marian has come to Kyiv hoping that Henry can save him. He thinks he can, but only if Marian is awake throughout the entire operation.[2]

With a soundtrack composed and performed by Nick Cave and Warren Ellis, the film is set in a bleak Ukrainian landscape as Henry and his colleague Igor Petrovich Kurilets struggle against massive logistical odds and the wrath of the old Soviet health system.


  1. ^ Dargis, Manohla. "The Doctor Who Went Into the Ukrainian Cold", The New York Times, New York, 23 July 2009. Retrieved on 17 January 2015.
  2. ^ Sharkey, Betsy. "The English Surgeon", The Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles, 31 July 2009. Retrieved on 17 January 2015.

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