Thoughts on The English Surgeon

  • Opening – A lot of polished shots
  • Interviews – Seem to be from light topics to dark topics
  • Use of music very manipulative and on cue
  • There are a lot of reenactments used
  • Archive footage used effectively
  • Main characters are interesting
  • Transportation of medical equipment was not explained at the start but brought to light later
  • Intercut between church and surgery room was effectively done, showed the stark divide between faith and science


  • Bicycle riding shot – > English doc moves left to right (makes him look like the protagonist)
  • Igor’s walking through graves shot (followed right after the bicycle shot) is from right to left (making him look like the antagonist)
  • In the later scenes however based on the conversations it seems that the roles of protagonist and antagonist are reversed.


  • Tension ever present (whether or not to operate), tension seems to die down after the successful surgery, lowering the stakes.
  • Archive footage – mostly of Tanya’s failed operation, very emotional
  • Contrast of surgeons and hospitals in London and Ukraine very obvious when put side by side
  • Some B-Roll appears to be taken after the film and not in the moment
  • Telling the Grandmother that her granddaughter is going to die seems exploitive? – Is it a necessary evil in documentaries to showcase the misery of others?
  • English Surgeon’s darker sides – not as optimistic as before
    • Does not shy away from gory details
    • Makes for interesting and compelling film
  • Ending – Reconciliation, I feel it is a nice wrap up although a little too long drawn
  • Ethicality of lying while breaking news to patient
    • A look inside the mind of the surgeon
      • A quick cut to last short with Tanya then back to her, is a final one-two KO punch to audiences
    • The constant going back to Tanya’s family is exploitive but moving


Final Thoughts

  • Overall the film is driven primarily on emotion, the weight of the characters going for surgery and drama is formed with the tension of whether they live or die in the balance
  • There was a main story of the brain surgery, which lost steam after we know about the surgery’s success.
  • The Rhythm of the story seemed linear at first but over time after the arc about the reconciliation with Tanya, the pacing took a nose dive, I felt that portion of the film was still necessary for an epic conclusion but maybe could have been significantly cut down.

Update on Farm Nation 5th Sept 2016

My Group and I have interviewed 2 out of the 4 farms we were planning to featuring in the Documentary.

We initially had 6 farms which were willing to be featured but we felt that 6 would have been overkill as most of them would talk about similar things. So instead we chose the 4 most diverse farms. Diverse in their content, backstory and unique crops that they grow.

  • Jurong Frog Farm
    • Case: shrinking landmass for farming, looking into vertical farming methods or alternative ways to raise frogs.
    • Status: Shot B-roll and Interviewed farmers, still planning a second trip to request a private tour around premises.
    • Expected Shoot – During Recess Week


  • Bollywood Veggies
    • Case: The value of farms in Singapore, not just for growing crops but seeing farming as an agro-tainment industry.
    • Status: Shot B-roll, toured and Interviewed farmers.


  • Fire Flies Health Farm
    • Case: Organic Farming in Singapore, going into niche markets instead of competing with overseas suppliers.
    • Status: Have gotten permission to shoot farm and Interview (Very helpful I might add), tentative shooting date, 24th September.


  • Singapore Farmer in Malaysia
    • No website, off the grid farms
    • Case: There is no enough room for “Real” Farms in Singapore, not for entertainment and tourism but “Real” farms which supply crops. Farmers have to go to Malaysia where land is plentiful to grow such crops.
    • Status: Fixed shooting Date and have gotten permission to shoot farm, Shooting Date, 30th September


We are still looking into other alternative content to shoot, i.e. Supermarket B-roll, Markets, Midnight Pasir Pangjang Wholesale Market, Hawker centre B-roll.

We are also looking into securing some vox pops of the common man, asking them several interview questions as to how much they know about Local Farming in Singapore.

Other interviewees we are looking into:

  • People in Government
  • Contractors
  • Farmer’s market association

Note on Farmer’s Market, There is a farmer’s market in October, we are still in discussion whether or not to film and cover this event (held by local farms in Singapore) we feel it may serve as a great conclusion to our documentary, seeing local farms come together and the crowds they attract.




Documentary Ideas

A comprehensive document of Our team’s documentary Idea is in the PDF link below


My fellow teammates are Lauren Teo, Clarinda Tin, Matthew Lee

The idea we have chosen is that farms are being relocated by the government and how they cope with such a move.

The idea is to tackle the serious issue yet with a fairly hopeful and light hearted tone. Focusing more of the tenacity of the farmers and their never say die attitude.

52Percent, more like 100%

52% reminded me of one of those artsy films, oh wait it most certainly was.

I feel it adequately shows the how more is said when less is said. Having it’s strongest moments in silence. For example silence after the talking head interview was more impactful for me rather than her talking about the dream she had.

The sickly blue hue in the dance studio was a strong indication of the atmosphere in of itself.

The realism of the film was a main draw factor for me. Immersing me into her world.