Burning Out

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    Burning Out

    Directed by

    Belgium, France, Switzerland


    85 min

    • French


    Over a two-year period, filmmaker Jérôme le Maire captured everyday life in the surgical department of a Parisian hospital. A combination of heavy workloads, intense stress, low staffing levels and budget cuts has deeply undermined the atmosphere. We see doctors almost fighting to get into the operating room, and the nursing staff is having a hard time as well. Everyone is at the end of their rope. “We cram, we cram, we cram,” sighs one overworked doctor after glancing at the schedule. Meanwhile, management is pushing for even more efficiency and cost cutting. How long can this go on? Le Maire paints a disconcerting picture of the imminent burnout threatening the healthcare system. No door was closed to him, and we see operations, discussions around the coffee table and countless meetings. He places emotions center stage and clearly sides with the staff, sometimes joining in conversations. One doctor takes six months off to avoid a total breakdown. When he returns refreshed, Le Maire is still filming, but has anything changed?


    Labels & Line Ups


    Jérôme le Maire
    Matyas Verres

    Director's Statement

    All my films came from my passion for humans. Burning out is the gripping story of a global epidemic: the sadly famous burn-out. Three years ago I attended a conference about the burn-out syndrome in the prestigious Saint-Louis hospital in Paris. I was shocked when I realized that the conference was not to help the patients but to help the doctors, to help the doctors themselves. I felt the conference was like an S.O.S. I introduced myself to a doctor, I told her I wanted to make a film about the burn-out. Luckily she saw me as someone who could help them. She was my “access” to the hospital. She would become one of my protagonists. The one who wants to stop the fire from inside. After each screening of the film I’m meeting people who tells me that this is exactly what is going on in their company and that they recognize it all from their own lives. Unfortunately it seems like this situation at the French hospital is more the rule rather than exception. Our modern world has transformed hospitals into health factories and patients into objects. Efficiency, productivity, performance has become the mantra everywhere for the managers. For decades we have known what is happening if we are stressing animals … they will eat each other. But what happens when we stress people?



    The fly-on-the-wall style of filming is reminiscent of classic documentary HOSPITAL (1970) by Frederick Wiseman.

    George Vermij, Cine.nl

    Jérôme Le Maire

    Jérôme Le Maire


    All my films came from my passion for humans.

    After studying journalism at the University of Brussels and then filmmaking at IAD in Belgium, Jérôme directed several short fiction films after graduating in 1995. In 2003 he made a feature length documentary VOLTER NE M’INTÉRESSE PAS. In 2006, while living in a small palm grove in Morocco, he directed WHERE IS LOVE IN THE PALM GROVE?​, selected at Vision du Réel and RIDM among many more. TEA OR ELECTRICITY​ (2012) won about thirty awards, including the Magritte for Best Documentary and prizes at the festivals Fidadoc, IOFF Geneva, Dokufest, etc. In 2013, Jerome directed a feature narrative film THE BIG TRIP​, winner of Best Film at the Festival du film Grolandais and selected at the Cannes IFF - ACID, IFF Rotterdam, Belfort IFF and many more. It was released in France and Belgium. BURNING OUT (2016) had its international premiere at IDFA.