Short Takes: "Tales From the Organ Trade"

| Thu Oct. 24, 2013 5:00 AM EDT

Tales From the Organ Trade

HBO DOCUMENTARY FILMS

With "king of venereal horror" David Cronenberg narrating, you'd expect stories of people being drugged and dragged onto filthy operating tables, only to awaken with a kidney missing. Actually, director Ric Esther Bienstock makes a decent argument for the sale of kidneys on a regulated market. The World Health Organization, among others, condemns the very notion as the ultimate in First World exploitation, yet some of the so-called victims tell Bienstock how selling a kidney saved them from a life of poverty. As for the well-heeled ill, the choice may boil down to death versus a less-than-ethical transaction. Which would you choose?

This review originally appeared in our November/December issue of Mother Jones.