( M) LOOK at the eyes that stare out from the cover of this DVD. Their focus and intensity tell you quite a lot about the subject of this fascinating documentary. They belong to quietly heroic neurosurgeon Henry Marsh, who lives a double life. On the one hand Marsh is a respected British medico who lives contentedly with his wife in their South London pile. But in each of the past 15 years he has travelled to Ukraine, where he conducts a free clinic, performing consultations and operations that the facilities there normally would not allow. While the scenes of the free clinic may remind the religious of Jesus in the temple full of thieves, there are no tantrums and no martyrs here, just a doctor, as close to selfless as a human being can get, doing what he can to save lives in a frozen foreign land. We meet Marsh’s Ukrainian protege, Igor Petrovich, who is determined to scoop up all he can of the great man’s wisdom so that he can perform some of the work on his own in the future. The depth of friendship between the two is palpable. Marsh brings with him the equivalent of drill bits for boring into skulls. They cost £ 80 ($ 181) and are discarded after a single use in Britain. Petrovich says he has used the same one for 10 years. Then there’s a young man named Marian, who can have life-saving brain surgery but only if he remains conscious through the entire procedure. Of course, we are invited along to the theatre. Absolutely riveting and a reminder of how high reality television can soar with the right subject in capable hands.
Madman ( 92 minutes) $ 29.95