Arts Kids Dying of Cancer
So I’m not sure why anyone would want to see a 4-hour documentary about children dying of cancer, except I think I’m going to watch it tonight, so perhaps you too are a sadist or a masochist or some unthinkable combination thereof.
A Lion in the House, which played at this year’s SIFF and had a repeat screening at Northwest Film Forum, is being broadcast on PBS (KCTS Channel 9, if you’re in Seattle) tonight and tomorrow at 9 pm. Here’s The Stranger’s capsule review:
This exhausting, heartfelt, meticulous documentary, filmed over the course of six years and lasting 230 minutes, follows five families in and out of the cancer ward at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. Through the brutal, unrelenting cycle of remission and relapse—of strokes and brain lesions and fungal infections and lost childhoods—the film focuses not only on the families (whose responses range from heroic acceptance to cheery denial), but also on the doctors and nurses who spend their lives surrounded by dying children. A Lion in the House is heavy and intimate, and unafraid to be unromantic: A little girl tearfully begs to be spared another spinal tap; a grandmother spitefully blames the family doctor for her grandson’s relapse; an overwhelmed mother leaves her dying son alone in the hospital for days as he pleads for her. Part I is when you get to know how awesome and funny and hopeful these kids are. Part II is when the death starts. (LINDY WEST)