In the piercingly straightforward documentary The Heart of Nuba we meet the only surgeon within 200 miles, Dr. Tom Catena does his best to save lives in the midst of carnage and terror, treating as many as 400 patients a day at Mother of Mercy Hospital, nestled in the heart of the Nuba Mountains. The region is the latest target of Omar al-Bashir, a man wanted by the International Criminal Court for committing crimes against humanity and war crimes in Darfur. Surrounded by a country at war, living under the constant shadow of aerial bombardment, Dr. Tom Catena and his mostly local staff defy Bashir’s ban on humanitarian aid, and work tirelessly to serve the Nuba people. This population of one million Muslims, Christians, Animists and Africans of traditional belief have lived together harmoniously for centuries. Now, together with ‘Dr. Tom’, they struggle to survive. His patients come to him from hundreds of miles away on foot, in carts, or often cradled in their mother’s arms. Welcome to the Nuba Mountains of Sudan, an area of the world so void of humanitarian and media attention that years of war go ignored, and cries for help go largely unheard. Here, this lone American surgeon tends with equal compassion to patients ranging from malnutrition and leprosy, to grave wounds inflicted by the indiscriminate bombings ordered by their own president, Omar al-Bashir. When a government can attack defenseless men, women and children with supersonic bombers,and it doesn’t make anyone’s newswire, something is terribly awry. Dr. Tom’ and his staff defy Bashir’s ban on humanitarian aid, work tirelessly to save the lives of the Nuba people, and bring hope to one million people who would be otherwise forgotten. Director Kenneth Carlson joins us to talk about Dr. Tom’s selfless work, the people of the region and the impact that The Heart of Nuba is having on their plight.
100% on Rotten Tomatoes!
“Absorbingly, unfussily captures Catena’s daily challenges and feats while also painting a vivid, often heartbreaking portrait of a forgotten people trapped in an underreported sociopolitical nightmare.” – Gary Goldstein, Los Angeles Times
“The film is worth seeing because it’s a moving and remarkable story and it represents a great cause.” – Glenn Kenny, New York Times
“A most down-to-earth saint presented in the most refreshingly candid manner.” – Louis Project, counterpunch.org
“The only surgeon for hundreds of miles, Tom Catena earns $350 a month but given his dedication to the poor people in Sudan’s Nuba mountains, he should be nominated for sainthood.” – Harvey S, Karten, schockya.com