Synopsis by Nathan Southern
Anticipating Gil Rossellini's harrowing Kill Gil 1 and Kill Gil 2, Israeli director Shlomi Shir's self-reflexive documentary portrait Mr. Cortisone, Happy Days (2004) steps into Shir's perspective during the filmmaker's final, harrowing battle with cancer. For some time, Shir believes that he can somehow stave off calamity by filming it, that the camera will somehow drive the disease out of existence. In time, however, inoperable tumors crop up in his spine, and every iota of optimism is destroyed. Driven to the point of confessional, Shir begins to divide his time in front of and behind the camera, emitting a series of painstakingly honest and difficult, stream-of-consciousness observations about himself, his experience, and most of all, his debilitating battle with the seemingly inevitable. Soon, Manhattan doctors and nurses pump Shir's body with a flood of tranquilizers, and he perceives himself as sentenced to die; refusing to accept this fate, Shir climbs out of his hospital bed, dresses, walks out of the facility and lets his hope soar.