Intended for healthcare professionals

Reviews Film

Film reopens euthanasia debate in Spain

BMJ 2004; 329 doi: (Published 07 October 2004) Cite this as: BMJ 2004;329:864
  1. Gonzalo Casino, medical journalist (
  1. El País, Spain

    A film based on a true story of assisted suicide has unexpectedly rekindled the ethical, medical, and political debate about legalising euthanasia in Spain. Mar Adentro (The Sea Inside) focuses on the death six years ago of Ramón Sampedro, a sailor who became quadriplegic after injuries sustained when he was 25 years old.

    The huge media impact that the film had when it opened in Spain last month has made it possible for the main groups supporting and opposing euthanasia to express their positions publicly. The Catholic church has stood by its view that euthanasia is “immoral and antisocial”; the country's Socialist government has been forced to make a statement; and finally the issue has reached the Spanish parliament.

    Mar Adentro, directed by Alejandro Amenábar, has been highly acclaimed and won the special jury award at the Venice Film Festival. But even the film's artistic merits are surpassed by the poignancy …

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