I hate movies about hospitals and doctors. I’m easily upset, so it was with a heavy heart and in bad mood that I went to see “Final Report”, you know, somewhat anxious. But after settling in, I was soon to be pleasantly surprised by a movie which, although the main character is a doctor, saves us the unpleasantries and using medicine as a medium, the film talks about life.
Hungarian director István Szabó (83) and actor Klaus-Maria Brandauer (78) joined forces and talents once again, years after winning the Oscar for “Mephisto”, to make this completely different movie, nothing in common with that noisy video clip cinema we often stumble upon.
The film has a classic storyline, much like the movies of old. The story portrays a general practitioner married to an opera singer and who doesn’t take kindly to retirement and being left out to pasture, so he decides to reopen his father’s surgery in his hometown where, once again back in that familiar environment, he encounters some of the most diverse elements imaginable. The key expression here is ‘fitting in’
This simple situation posed by “Final Report” gives us the opportunity to reflect on the world in which we live and gives us plenty of food for thought and reflection. Have we lost the ability to connect with others? My nephew, who just turned fifteen, told me the other day that he didn’t like a doctor he went to because he was rushing through the visit too fast. And this is for me is the key to the question. Do we spend enough time with others, or do we just fly through things quickly?
And it is at this precise moment in history, when office workers and employees of all kinds are at their jobs, public or private, shuffling papers as they send you packing to the ATM ignoring the individual asking them for a little attention. The machines are useful, you can’t deny that, but nothing like the personal attention that certain situations require. We live in times that when someone is nice to you, it almost catches you off guard. As such, this story of a cardiologist who cares about his patients, the people who come to visit him, and who spares no attention to detail in his work, is moving. And here we get to the heart of the matter because these veterans at the pinnacle of their very existence, present us with a drama about old age, not lacking in mischievous humor that should give us plenty to think about. Young people too, yes, those who believe that their turn will never come, there is an urgent and pressing need to address the issue that our society demonstrates a totally unacceptable lack of respect towards the elderly. Instead of dumping individuals on the scrap heap so others can take their place, why don’t we combine experience with that fresh zest and energy of youth, with those who complain that they are blocking their way? It’s like it weren’t important for different generations to share space, side-by-side. A fact that will inevitably result in us missing out on a wealth of truly enriching experience.
I am struck by the lack of respect of many young people who don’t know the meaning of the word humility. Those who proudly disguise their ignorance, that respect that we, the children of the baby boom, had towards our predecessors. When radio afforded me the opportunity to work with the legendary Amanda Camps or to read my first newsletters with José Felix Pons or Joan Lluch, folk of privileged diction and voice, I took it as an opportunity for growth and that became my modus operandi from there on in, always eager to work with the best and learn. Age cannot ever become a noose around one’s neck.
Alas, the time for retelling tales of battles has not yet arrived, as I’m afraid, seeing how they handle retirement in this country, there’s still much work to do. But isn’t it marvelous that a film which unfortunately won’t rake in the cash at the box office has encouraged me to travel the roads I believe corporate leaders and politicians who arrange and organize our lives should travel more? You see, it’s really a piece of cake. It’s about conserving our humanity and encouraging greater collaboration between one another, no matter how old you are. That way, we’re all guaranteed to find greater happiness. And if you do your job well, everyone ends up finding their place. It’s not necessary to send people packing hastily to take care of their vegetable patch, much less walk over corpses. And it doesn’t matter whether you’re discussing medicine or journalism, two professions that above all else, require a calling.