If “Charitéensive” were to run on Netflix, the whole world would be talking about it. The documentary series shows the brutal daily life in the intensive care unit in the time of Corona, with the hospital staff as superheroes. Now in the ARD media library.
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We live in the heyday of documentaries taking many different forms. So-called true crime formats, in which real and shocking crimes are reconstructed, are especially popular, as was Netflix’s “Tiger King.” These series are exciting and well-designed – and they don’t have much to do with reality because so many people are currently experiencing them.
Because responsible documentary filmmakers are looking for stories that are extreme and therefore rare to tell as crime stories. Director and photographer Karl Gerstorfer does things very differently. who spent the winter of 2020/21 in the intensive care unit of the Charité Hospital in Berlin for the four-part documentary series Charitéensive: Station 43.
Gierstorfer and his team demonstrated a fact that has been tried and tolerated in a similar form by hospital staff around the world for over a year. For several months, the director was a guest of doctors and nurses in Berlin’s intensive care unit when hospital rooms filled with people with Covid – so severe that they could only deal with Rund-um-die-clock care and thanks to the machines had a chance to survive. life.
In “Charitéensive: Station 43”, the camera is in the room when the struggle for the life of a 28-year-old patient is taking place. The camera follows as an ambulance roars over Berlin’s night so a rare machine can be brought to a patient in another hospital to replace a circulatory system that the body can no longer sustain on its own. Sometimes only recordings of interviews with participants are cut between daily clinical practice recordings. Gierstorfer allows events to speak for themselves as much as possible.
work on the border
“Charitéensive” is a frontier experiment that not even extreme director Werner Herzog – who actually filmed in an icy desert and among bear researchers – could have better grasped. A big part of winning the trust of employees, relatives and patients, who had to give them permission to shoot, said Charité director Gerstorfer in an interview about his work process. This understanding and camera observations lead to scenes rarely seen in this intimate relationship. These scenes shocked me through thick and thin.
When a patient, after successful intensive care, takes the first steps of getting out of bed and out into the fresh air, a great moment of freedom arises from this small procedure. When the wife bids farewell to her husband who just died, from which Covid disease eventually caused multiple organ failure, at this heartbreaking moment, the bare number of about 79,000 deaths that occurred in Germany in connection with the epidemic so far gave increases. The Charitéensive program fulfills more than all the appeals, more than all the articles on Corona and more than all the statistics: the daily moribund becomes tangible here.
In the first four episodes, I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to see the series until the end. I understand anyone wouldn’t want that. On the other hand, I’m so glad I watched to the end. In addition to being deeply shocked, Charité Intensive aroused a deeper admiration for myself, admiration for the work of all the staff in Ward 43, for everyone who has been caring for patients daily for more than a year, understaffed and overworked, while some citizens find it inconceivable Wear the mask.
I know hospital workers can’t buy anything from them, but “Charitéensive” is the contemporary document of a heroic, everyday collective action. “Charitéensive” is a series of superheroes in the truest sense of the word, about doctors and nurses who make their calendars every day without the world outside a sterile hospital room noticing too much of it. Charité Intensive gives strangers a rare, important, and understated look.
One of the world’s most important documentaries, Charité Intensive is a masterpiece that opens our eyes, just as intensive care doctors turn to the public, warning that hospitals will soon drown again.
All four episodes of “Charitéensive: Station 43”, with a duration of only half an hour, are available at ARD . media library.