MONTREAL — Dockside to Bedside: 100 Years of Herzl, a documentary about one of Canada’s first free medical clinics premieres on the City Montreal television station Sept. 21.
Filmmaker Ezra Soiferman spent a year at what is now the Jewish General Hospital’s Goldman Herzl Family Practice Centre documenting the clinic’s diverse patients and staff and their stories.
“I’ve directed films about greasy-spoon chefs, Québécois Christmas tree sellers in Manhattan, working dogs, pickle makers and cod fishermen,” said Soiferman. “Nothing could have prepared me for a film about a busy medical clinic and all it entails. What a privilege to be able to spend a year following the staff and patients of such a humbling and historic institution like Herzl.”
Located today in a former Catholic convent on the grounds of the JGH in Côte des Neiges, one of Canada’s most multicultural neighbourhoods, Herzl continues to be a trailblazer. It is recognized for its innovative model of preventive medicine and compassionate care.
This includes home visits, and specialization in breastfeeding, teen health, drug addiction and palliative care.
Narrated by former CBC anchor Dennis Trudeau, Dockside to Bedside looks back at the clinic’s 100-year history from a makeshift dockside dispensary serving newly arrived Jewish immigrants and the city’s poor, through to its integration into the public health care system.
Herzl director Dr. Michael Malus, the JGH’s chief of family medicine, said, “Ezra got it. Our definition of health is more than the absence of disease. It is about enabling people to be who they really are. Our staff partners with our patients to make it work.”
Soiferman added, “Working closely with Dr. Malus and his team as they cared for Montrealers of all ages and ethnicities was a really eye-opening experience – a little like going to medical school, I imagine, except without any dissections or exams, just a final film to present.”
The Herzl’s multidisciplinary staff includes physicians, nurses, psychologists, social workers, nutritionists and exercise therapists.
Dockside to Bedside features an original score by klezmer/hip hop musician Josh “Socalled” Dolgin.
The film will be repeated on City TV Montreal throughout the year. For more information on upcoming showings, visit Ezra Soiferman's blog at EzSez.com.