Louis Pasteur, a Frenchman, became famous around the world for having developed the vaccine against rabies. Robert Koch, a German, would receive the Nobel Prize for Medicine for having discovered the tuberculosis bacterium. At the end of the 19th century when epidemics were wiping out populations, their rivalry would revolutionise science.
Tuberculosis, rabies, the plague, cholera, tetanus, diphtheria… For the greater good of humanity, Pasteur and Koch challenged each other in all fields. This rivalry, exacerbated by nationalist feelings against the backdrop of the Franco-Prussian War, would be behind one of the greatest discoveries in the world of medicine: the role of bacteria in the transmission of diseases.
Through the reconstitution of this exceptional scientific duel, this docudrama tells the story of an incredible turning point in medical science, pursuant to which life expectancy would make a giant leap.
Direction: Mathieu Schwartz
Production: Martange Production for ARTE France