The Waiting Room, By Director Peter Nix Essay

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The documentary The Waiting Room, is about a safety-net hospital called Highland Hospital located in Oakland, California. In the film, director Peter Nix follows patients, doctors, and staff all throughout a typical day at the hospital. Furthermore, the film displays how the staff is overworked, and how the American health care system is affecting millions of uninsured patients who try to cope with injury and disease. The film utilizes techniques from the observational mode like: long takes, crisis structure, and everyday experiences that unfold spontaneously to transmit the cruel realities of uninsured patients who go to Highland Hospital seeking hope and treatment.
The Waiting Room, incorporates the observational mode trait of long takes to illustrate the chaos that occurs in the waiting room and behind the scenes of the hospital. Furthermore, the long takes in the film provide a bit of each patients’ background story and allow patients to express instead of revealing character individuality. Which can help infer why the health care system in American is failing. The long takes help uncover, “The body language, and eye contact, the intonation and tone of the voices, the pauses and “empty” time that gives the encounter the sense of concrete, lived reality” (Nicholas 176), which depicts each patients’ harsh reality of living with no health insurance. For example, there is a scene where a little girl and her mom follow a nurse into a room, the camera follows them and the

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