Confessions of a Good Samaritan - Penny Lane
Credit: SXSW
by Andrew Dignan Featured Film

Confessions of a Good Samaritan — Penny Lane [SXSW ’23 Review]

March 17, 2023

In 2019, the documentary filmmaker Penny Lane donated one of her kidneys as part of an altruistic donor program, meaning the organ would be given to an individual that Lane didn’t know and would likely never meet. Her motives for doing so are outwardly uncomplicated; essentially, she’s healthy, recipients are in desperate need, and, ultimately, “why not?” In making herself the subject of her latest film, Confessions of a Good Samaritan, chronicling the years-in-the-making decision as well as the battery of physical and psychological tests leading up to the operation and the recovery period afterwards, the filmmaker places herself under her own microscope in trying to understand the very nature of empathy, approaching the subject on both a micro and macro level. What kind of person willingly hands over part of their body to someone in need, why isn’t this a more common practice, and how is one supposed to feel in the aftermath of such an act of generosity?

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Published as part of InRO Weekly — Volume 1, Issue 11.