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THE BLOOD SAGA (series 1 to 3)

THE BLOOD SAGA tells us how man has battled to gain control of this precious liquid throughout centuries of fascinating sometimes alarming experiments. A number of reconstructions, explicit archives, interviews given by specialists and some often deeply moving testimonies illustrate the large research and the many discoveries that have allowed medicine to accompany humanity on its never ending quest for immortality.



From magic to medecine (01)



COPYRIGHT : 2002
DIRECTOR : Alexander MARENGO
AUTHORS : Alexander MARENGO
FORMAT : Digital betacam
DIFFUSION : Digital betacam
DURATION : 48 minutes
TYPE : documentary
VERSION(S) : English, French
PRODUCTION : Lieurac Productions, WNET, Optomen Television
PARTICIPATION : Centre National de la Cinématographie

The great roman physicist Galien, doctor to the gladiators, was convinced that the liver was transforming food into blood... until William Harvey, surgeon to the king of England, established in 1628 the major role of the heart in the blood flow system. In 1667, Jean-Baptiste Denis, doctor to Louis XIV, performed the first blood transfusion on a human being using veal's blood ! Due to the death toll generated by this technique, transfusion was slowly made illegal and bleeding remained the most widespread technique. It would take the death of George Washington, first American president, for this ancient technique to be outlawed. In September 1900, Karl Landsteiner, a young Austrian scientist, revealed for the first time the existence of three blood types-groups A, B and O. His discovery, which earned him the Nobel prize, was going to save millions of lives in the decades to come.

Red gold (02)



COPYRIGHT : 2002
DIRECTOR : Alexander MARENGO
AUTHORS : Alexander MARENGO
FORMAT : Digital betacam
DIFFUSION : Digital betacam
DURATION : 48 minutes
TYPE : documentary
VERSION(S) : English, French
PRODUCTION : Lieurac Productions, WNET, Optomen Television
PARTICIPATION : Centre National de la Cinématographie

When war broke out in 1914, it was still impossible to store blood. It is during this conflict that it was discovered that mixing sodium citrate into the blood enables it to be stored, ready for use. During the Spanish civil war, a Canadian doctor, Norman Bethune created a "blood bank" using refrigerators to transport the blood to the combat zones. This inspired Janet Vaughan who went on to found the first British "blood bank". Doctor Charles Drew knew how to control plasma, a blood component. He is responsible for the first American "blood bank", largely based on that fluid. The Nazis believed in a pure blood race based in their motherland : blut und boden blood and ground. They claimed that only Aryans could give blood. Nazi Germany was going to pay the full price for this disastrous ideology.
Once the war was over, the thousands of doctors who had observed the astonishing benefits of transfusions done on the battlefields were finally going to be able to spread this wonderful science to a pacified world.

Tainted blood (03)



COPYRIGHT : 2002
DIRECTOR : Nick READ
AUTHORS : Nick READ
FORMAT : Digital betacam
DIFFUSION : Digital betacam
DURATION : 48 minutes
TYPE : documentary
VERSION(S) : English, French
PRODUCTION : France 5, Lieurac Productions, WNET, Optomen Television
PARTICIPATION : Centre National de la Cinématographie

The treatment of Hiroshima victims revealed that in the event of a nuclear conflict the blood stocks would be insufficient. At the same time, the need for blood products brought about by the progress in medicine and predominantly in heart surgery forced the sanitary authorities in the U.S.A and in Europe to massively reorganise the collect and the storage of blood. Europe relied on its usual network of blood donors, but the U.S.A, conscious of a potential world market for blood products, remunerated their donors without paying much attention to their often shady medical backgrounds. In 1980 when the AIDS crisis broke out it was too late and a large amount of blood turned out to be contaminated. The consequences were catastrophic, especially for the haemophiliacs. We have learned at great cost that making profit from blood could also endanger us greatly, but the challenge remains. We must be able to provide large quantities of safe and healthy blood.

SILVER FROM THE SEA || THE GREAT COD FISHING SAGA



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