Greg Mortimer - Film Review Spanish Film Festival 2023

Greg Mortimer - Film Review Spanish Film Festival 2023

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Posted 2023-06-02 by Maria-MPG Narrativesfollow

Tue 20 Jun 2023 - Tue 04 Jul 2023

Greg Mortimer - Film Review (Spanish Film Festival 2023)



Greg Mortimer is the name of a cruise ship - one that takes paying customers to experience Antarctica. Saving for a cruise such as this can take years, as does planning one. This is what Australian and New Zealand tourists, along with others from Europe, Canada and America, did to be able to afford this cruise.A documentary about this particular cruise is also called, Greg Mortimer, and was made by documentary filmmaker Federico Lemos. It forms part of The Spanish Film Festival at Palace Cinemas this June and July.

The documentary is an intimate account of what happened to the passengers and crew of this ill-fated cruise to Antarctica in early 2020. The cruise liner company, Aurora, was the only cruise company at the time that didn't cancel cruises. As the pandemic was only in its early stages and had not yet hit Argentina, where the cruise set off from, it went ahead. Two hours after departure, the World Health Organisation announced the pandemic.Panic ensued in the coming days as they approached Antarctica when some passengers became ill with fever. The ship's doctor did everything he could to help, along with his assistant doctor, but within a few weeks, 70% of the passengers and crew were infected. It wasn't yet known whether it was COVID as the equipment onboard was limited.What was meant to be the cruise holiday of a lifetime, quickly became the passengers' and crew's worst nightmare.



This dire situation became worse when the ship was stranded at sea due to countries not wanting them to disembark on their soil. Borders were closing fast and things looked grim until the Uruguayan authorities were contacted. Uruguay's politicians and leaders, including medical staff, were ready to help.

Uruguay was ready but underestimated the gravity of this rescue mission. It took time to implement and provide humanitarian aid to the ship once it docked at Montevideo. The authorities also contacted the Australian government to organise an emergency flight to rescue Australian and New Zealand citizens. This flight made world news, as did the cruise liner's whole situation.This is a story of empathy and solidarity, where fear of the unknown took over but then the organised effort of the Uruguayan people contained the impacts of what could have been a horrific disaster.



As I watched this documentary I asked myself why anyone wanted to travel back then, why didn't they heed the warnings? I then remembered my own brother was stuck in Peru in early March 2020, quarantined in his hotel. Thankfully, he returned home to more quarantine in a Sydney hotel but safe. His travel company didn't give any warnings just like Aurora didn't warn their passengers and crew at the time. The pandemic had only begun with many people still unaware of it.

Aurora could have managed things better and should have cancelled the cruise in the first place, but then many mistakes were made during those first months of the pandemic.The documentary is sensitive to the passenger's stories and includes some of the crew's stories too. I enjoyed watching it even though it reminded me that COVID hasn't really gone away. Find out more information about the films being shown at The Spanish Film Festival website .You can see dates and session times and buy tickets for the Festival here .

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!date 20/06/2023 -- 04/07/2023
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177346 - 2023-06-15 18:31:15

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