76 Days @ TIFF

Incredible. A documentary which will just have you shaking your head. How hard those in the hospitals in Wuhan worked and how caring they were vis a vis the patients. After watching it you will feel like you have been through the wringer with them.

Wuhan has been acknowledged as the epicenter of the COVID-19 virus. It began there. For 76 days (hence the title of the film) they were under lock down. The city’s residents were hard hit by the virus.

The documentary, directed by Weixi Chen (first film) and Hao Wu (Beijing or Bust, People’s Republic of Desire), features a camera following around the staff and patients on the COVID ward in a Wuhan hospital. Most of the 93 minutes of the runtime happens there. precious few moments happen in the outside world.

Hard to watch at times for different reasons. Sometimes you are seeing people suffering in hospital beds while others you see the fatigue the front line health care workers are suffering from and then there are the family members of those dying or who have succumbed to the virus. The very first scene is that. A distressed woman in the halls of the hospital who must be a worker there as she is wearing one of the body covering PPE suits they all wear. Her heart is breaking in front of the camera. She cannot believe her father is dead. Grief is washing over her. She cries, screams, pleads with workers to see her father one more time. They have to hold her back. Phew…hard to watch.

You definitely get a fly on the wall perspective here. No one is acting or seemingly even cognizant of the camera being there. As such you get true human interaction and emotion. The directors did a great job making sure they were not intrusive in what was going on. And yet they were still able to get wonderful (weird to say that!) footage. Images which really make you understand the horror, pressure, suffering, and attempt at humanity which was happening in the city.

It is so unbelievable what is happening at times I believed this was the latest sci fi apocalypse film I was watching.

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