Doctor in the Desert (film #4 in the Health section of the State of Israel section of Stephen Spielberg Jewish Film Archive). [Category: Public Service]

This Israeli film from the 60s documents the bringing of modern Western medicine to the Bedouin tribal people of the Negev desert. This is straightforwardly and rather starkly told, with lots of fascinating images of the Bedouin’s way of life. Western medicine is portrayed as vastly superior in all ways to any traditional health practices these people may have had. More interesting is a segment on a Bedouin medical student who has to deal with cultural clash. This is shown poignantly at the end of the film, where he gets off the bus after a day of classes dressed in Western garb and puts on his Arab headdress before walking home. This has historical and multicultural interest.

Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: *. Weirdness: ***. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: ***.

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