The Rebel Surgeon

”Here nobody dies alone,” doctor Erik Erichsen summarizes the differences between Swedish and Ethiopian healthcare. He got fed up with the bureaucracy of being a doctor in Sweden and moved to Ethiopia with his wife Sennait Erichsen. At the Ethiopian clinic in Aira, where resources are scarce and the waiting room is always packed with patients, the paperwork has certainly dropped to a minimum.

In this environment, inventiveness is a vital resource that can save a patient’s life. Bicycle spokes, hair clips, fishing line and a drilling machine are transformed into surgical instruments in the hands of surgeon Erichsen. Decisions about procedures are made quickly and the options are presented directly to the patient. As no time is wasted on administrative work, Erichsen gets to fulfil himself as a surgeon with everything from delivering babies to amputations and spear hunting accidents. The documentary shows life at the clinic without hiding any of the gory details.

The patients have often travelled a long way to get to the clinic, as is the case with a small girl with cancer, brought to the hospital by her concerned neighbours. According to the doctor, it is this sense of community that the Swedish society could learn from.

The rebel surgeon already featured in director Erik Gandini’s previous documentary, The Swedish Theory of Love, which was part of the 2016 festival programme.
Emilia Koivumäki (Translation: Ulrika Sundelin)

Language: English, Swedish
Subtitles: English

  • Name in Original Language: Rebellkirurgen
  • Director: Erik Gandini
  • Country: Sweden
  • Year: 2017
  • Length: 52 min
  • Age limit: K7
  • Format: DCP
  • Cinematography: Carl Nilsson
  • Editing: Stefan Sundlöf, Johan Söderberg
  • Music: Apollo Music
  • Production: Juan Pablo Libossart, Erik Gandini / Fasad


  • Kinopalatsi 1: Mon 29.1. klo 21.45
  • Kinopalatsi 6: Wed 31.1. klo 18.45
  • Kinopalatsi 6: Sat 3.2. klo 20.15