Facing Darkness documentary

Exploring the world through film

Group Discussion at

The product of the movie industry is a story . . . told primarily in visual imagery and movement, and . . . dialogue. The movie shares the function of all storytelling, of all literature, of all theater: that of a comment on some phase of existence.
—Hortense Powdermaker (1950)*

A point of view can be a dangerous luxury when substituted for insight and understanding.
—Marshall McLuhan (1962)*


Movies on Chatham publishes monthly research articles and essays on movies, typically according to a theme sequence, earning reader support as an important source of insight and critical thought on what films communicate to their audiences.

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History of Medicine

In the spring of 2019, we watch and discuss movies that either dramatize or document activities that take place in medical environments. We are all familiar with the ritual activity of visiting a doctor, maybe just to get a vaccination or maybe, at the other extreme, to receive a stunning diagnosis.

A stunning diagnosis is what all the patients in this month’s movie were dealing with. However, the setting and experience shown in  Facing Darkness (Rasco, 2017) is likely quite unfamiliar to most of us.

In this documentary film, we see medical teams treating and educating people during an outbreak of the Ebola virus in Liberia in 2014.

Can representations in movies lead us to understand our life circumstances better? . . . those of others as well?

Or, do people always tend to respond to a movie based on earlier established sensibilities? We hope that this movie-watching experience can lead to enhanced coping skills and a stronger sense of empathy for others.

What do you notice in this movie that may influence an audience about medical systems and their decision-making? We’d love to hear from you as you watch it along with us this month.

2019 Spring Schedule

Jan 17 The Midwife
2017 Drama, 117 mins
Director: Martin Provost
the midwife
Feb 14 Dead Ringers
1988 Drama, 115 mins
Director: David Cronenberg
dead ringers poster
Mar 14 Facing Darkness
2017 Documentary, 93 mins
Director: Arthur Rasco
Facing Darkness movie poster
Apr 11 Yellow Jack
1938 Drama, 83 mins
Director: George B. Seitz
Yellow Jack movie poster
May 09 TBA
Drama, mins


McLuhan, M. (1962). The Gutenberg galaxy: The making of typographic man. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

Powdermaker, H. (1950). Hollywood, the dream factory: An anthropologist looks at the movie-makers (1st Ed.). Boston: Little, Brown.

Rasco, A. (2017). Facing Darkness [MOTION PICTURE]. USA: Samaritan’s Purse.

Located in Atlanta, Georgia, film capital of the South, Movies on Chatham provides monthly film critiques to a public audience.
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