András Ötvös, Tamás Keresztes, Sándor Zsótér, Natasa Stork
(2013, feature, digital, colour, 100 min.)
Death does not select, man does. – Set in Budapest, Heavenly Shift offers an eerie insight into the everyday lives of a rather extraordinary ambulance crew.
The film’s main character is Milan, a young refugee from the Balkan War, who joins a team of paramedics but inadvertently ends up involved in the funeral business in order to finance his fiancée’s rescue from the hostilities.
MILÁN (András Ötvös) the half Serbian, half Hungarian guy deserts from the Croatian army in 1992, the second year of the Yugoslav war and escapes from Yugoslavia to Hungary. As a former medical student he gets a job for himself at the Hungarian paramedics. He has two unalterable, steady collegues on the emergency ambulance: KISTAMÁS (Tamás Keresztes), the driver of the ambulance and DOCTOR FÉK (Roland Rába), the chief of the paramedic crew. It is a cold shower for the young enthusiastic and conscientious EMS assistant when he realizes that his companions make a selection from the patients. While they are saving lives, sometimes they allow old people or mortally ill to die, or indeed it occurs that their death is hurried by them. MILÁN soon finds out that there is a business side to the illegal euthanasy events taken place at the back of their ambulance. In order to finance his fiancée’s rescue from the war, MILÁN needs money, so he makes a deal with his companions. He gradually becomes involved in the horrors and sin. While he is turning into a skilled paramedic, and lives through the euphoric moments of lifesaving, he recognises innumerable faces of Death.