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© Universal Pictures International Germany GmbH

Der Medicus (The Physician)

Rob Cole’s (Tom Payne) quest to become a doctor begins when he feels his mother’s life force ebbing from “side sickness” (appendicitis). Nine-year-old Rob runs for the Barber (Stellan Skarsgård) – the equivalent of doctors in 1021 A.D. in England. When they return the priest administering last rites declares Barber’s work to be witchcraft. Abandoned, Rob hides in Barber’s horse-drawn caravan. Years later and with glaucoma stealing Barber’s sight, they turn to a Jewish Hakim who tells Rob about the renowned Ibn Sina (Ben Kingsley) in Ispahan. Opening a world map, he explains Rob would not get further than Egypt – Muslims only tolerate Jews passing through their lands. Still… with Barber’s eyesight restored, he drops Rob at the Dover coast. Rob asks the Lord’s forgiveness, denounces his Christianity, and eventually gains admittance to Sina’s medical school. The wise and magnanimous Sina recognizes Rob’s gift, and so begins their journey for Rob’s erudition.

Laced with adventure, Philipp Stölzl directs this dramatic epic tale based on Noah Gordon’s book. The casting is spot-on. The synergy of outstanding acting, Hagen Bogdanski’s palpable cinematography, and Ingo Frenzel’s complementary music delivers unforgettable historical drama. Sven Budelmann’s edits seamlessly tie the divergent phases together. Richly textured, Der Medicus is both inspiring and unforgettable. English with German subtitles. (Marinell Haegelin)

 

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