Thomas Lilti’s Hippocrates: Diary of a French Doctor (Hippocrate, 2014) stars Vincent Lacoste as Benjamin Barois, a self-assured intern assigned to the Paris hospital where his father (Jacques Gamblin) works as a senior physician.
Faced with the realities of limited resources, long hours, and run-down facilities, Benjamin’s commitment to the profession is quickly tested. Abdel Rezzak (Reda Kateb, Zero Dark Thirty), an Algerian physician whose immigrant status relegates him to the rank of intern, serves as the ethical counterpoint to a national health system that leans more towards the hypocritical than the Hippocratic. Lilti’s own experience as a licensed primary care physician contributes to the authenticity of this dramedy, offering the viewer access to aspects of hospital life that are usually unavailable to the public.
Hippocrates debuted at the closing night of Cannes’ Critics Week in May 2014 and opened to audiences in France and Belgium in September 2014. Shortly following its screening at the Philadelphia International Film Festival in October, Distrib Films US purchased the rights to Hippocrates, which, outside of the festival circuit, has yet to make it to American theaters. It earned seven nominations for France’s prestigious César Awards (2015), including Kateb’s win for Best Supporting Actor.