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Film Review: “After the Sirens” (2018) ★★★★


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© 2018 Optic Nerve Films Inc.

How much do we know about the job and responsibilities of the first responders? What is going on in their minds and hearts before, after or even during those moments when they rush into the ambulance car with the sirens activates and hurry to save a patient’s life.  How they feel when they walk into the scene to assess the situation and see how many people they need to provide with first aid. How many of those people might need a hand to hold as they die?

It might be an over-dramatization. After all, those are brave people who choose this hard job to be able to help people day after day. Yet, the true situation looks dire. The job of a paramedic is one of the most difficult and challenging jobs in the world. In fact, any sane mind can be twisted for good after all the stress those professionals go through.

“After the Sirens” is a documentary that follows a group of paramedics why share their everyday job and also talks about the great struggle many of them have with PTSD. Some of them even talk about their suicidal thoughts and how they have attempted to take their own lives. Why? Because what they see and what they have to face day after day as a paramedic is far from a cozy, carefree life any person wants to enjoy. While they do their best to save someone’s life, it is possible that they will be pushed over the edge and need their colleague’s help for themselves in the near future.

Clive Derbyshire has been a paramedic for over 13 years. He resides in Vancouver and has been facing his own challenges. He tries to hold as tight as he can. In fact, he has a drug addiction caused by every scene he has to witness when he is on duty. Natalie Harris can no longer fulfill her duty as a paramedic due to her suicide attempt. Again, this trauma has been caused by the job she chose to do every day. What she and other paramedics have seen during their careers is truly heartbreaking. Once you dive into their world, you can understand how hard it is to remain brave and cold-headed when they have to process the horrendous scene they find themselves in.

In conclusion, “After the Sirens” is one of those documentary films that make you think a lot. And not only about their stories, but literally, everything in life. You might find yourselves questioning the purpose of life; or think about the events that have shattered your or other’s lives, and how those shattered lives are being saved by people who really care about their patients more than anything else. Through the dramatized scenes, the film brings the viewer closer to what the paramedics have to go through – their traumas, and even the statistics about the number of suicides, that are unbelievably high to accept. In the end, you will find the cure to heal the wounds caused by this wonderful and touching film. Because that’s life. And that’s what this film aims to capture.

WORLD BROADCAST PREMIERE:
Sunday April 8, 2018 | 9:00pm (9:30 NT)
CBC DOCS POV

Also airs online at cbc.ca/cbcdocspov/ on Friday, April 6 from 5:00pm ET

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