Facets Cinémathèque

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January 9–15, 2015

Chicago Premiere

Remote Area Medical

Film still: Remote Area Medical Film still: Remote Area Medical Film still: Remote Area Medical Film still: Remote Area Medical


"Deeply compassionate, quietly furious"
  —New Yorker
3 stars "A heartbreaking examination of poverty-stricken America... Remote Area Medical is an incredibly tragic movie. It's also an important one"
  —Washington Post
"Stirring... The camera tracks every emotional up and down, through tests and surgery, with an unfussy precision that allows the themes to arise naturally"
  —AV Club
3 stars "Remote Area Medical is invaluable not just in the insights it provides into an American reality often untold, but more so in the potency of the questions its prompts, and in how it refuses to simplify or misrepresent its subjects"
  —Slant Magazine
3 stars½ "An exceptional story of an unique, ephemeral event, captured with an unfettered eye"
  —Film Threat
3 stars "A shudder-inducing corrective [to conservative outrage]... evocative, and frequently horrifying"
  —The Dissolve
3 stars "This is the America that the filmmakers are documenting—one rarely presented in movies, and even more rarely presented without condescension... this is an important story, elegantly told, sometimes harrowing, always affecting"
3 stars "The faces on those who have fallen through the cracks in the system speak volumes"
  —Chicago Tribune
  —Chicago Reader
Recommended "Horrors, and hope, coalesce in Reichert and Zaman's deft, nonjudgmental, heartbreaking work"
  —NewCity Chicago

Amid the nation's ongoing debate over health care reform, this bracing new documentary examines the everyday realities of Americans who lack access to affordable medical treatment. Filmed during three days in the operation of a "no-cost" clinic set up annually at Bristol, Tennessee's NASCAR speedway, Remote Area Medical documents the range of medical care the eponymous organization provides to low-income patients in the heart of Appalachia.

Remote Area Medical affords us an insider's perspective on the ebb and flow of the event, from the tense 3:30 a.m. ticket distribution that determines who gets seen to the routine check-ups, to the risky means to which some patients resort for pain relief. We also meet a doctor who drives an 18-wheeler, a denture maker who moonlights as a jeweler, and the organization's founder, Stan Brock (former Wild Kingdom co-host), who first imagined Remote Area Medical while living as a cowboy in the Amazon rainforest, hundreds of miles from the nearest doctor. However, it is the extraordinary stories of the patients, desperate for medical attention, that create a lasting impression about the state of modern health care in America. "We cut back on places like Guatemala, Honduras, Dominican Republic, Africa...simply because we're overwhelmed with the need here," says Stan. "Welcome to America."

Directed by Jeff Reichert & Farihah Zaman, U.S,A., 2013, 80 mins.


  • Fri., Jan. 9 at 7 & 9 pm
  • Sat.–Sun., Jan. 10–11 at 5, 7 & 9 pm
  • Mon.–Thurs., Jan. 12–15 at 7 & 9 pm
Order tickets


$10 general admission

$5 for Facets Members

The Facets Cinémathèque is located at 1517 W. Fullerton Ave. in Chicago. Call the Cinémathèque Hotline at 773.281.4114 for the latest schedule, showtimes and updates.

For all Cinémathèque inquiries, contact Charles Coleman at 773.281.9075 or

  • John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
  • Artworks: National Endowment for the Arts
  • Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences
  • Comer Family Foundation
  • Bloomberg Philanthropies
  • Alphawood Foundation
  • Polk Bros. Foundation