MTV Documentary Films.
Reviewed by Tami Smith, Film Reviewer for Shockya
Director: Hao Wu, Weixi Chen, Anonymous
Screenwriter & Editor: Hao Wu
Cast: Residents and Health workers at Wuhan’s hospitals
Release Date: December 4th, 2020
A recent article in The New York Times, In Hunt for Virus Source, posed the question: How did COVID 19 jump from animals to humans during the early stages of the pandemic in China. Nine months and million deaths later, there is still no transparent investigation into the source of the virus. Meanwhile China’s propaganda machine continues to present Wuhan as a star, according to Vivian Wang, a New York Times reporter.
During the first week of April 2020 wailing air sirens pierced the deserted streets of Wuhan, mourning the dead, just a few days shy of “re-opening” the city. Director Hao Wu rewinds the clock to February 2020 and takes us back to the early days of the outbreak, documenting the struggle to survive the pandemic in hospitals, while eleven-million residents are on locked-down in the city.
Hao Wu assigned Weixi Chen and Anonymous to go to hospitals, and focus on individual cases, which they documented in detail: A hospital worker denied saying farewell to her dead father; A grandfather with dementia looking for a way out of the hospital; A young couple who had to leave their newborn for observation in the facility; and a healthcare worker calling families of the dead and returning their personal belongings. The chaotic situation in one hospital is demonstrated in the first part of 76 Days, showing a group of patients trying to gain admission to a hospital while health workers are preventing a human invasion to the facility assigning bed number to each patient.
Co-directors Weixi Chen and Anonymous used Personal Protective Equipment that made it hard to breathe, while following medical staff and patients. Before each day’s end they went through a disinfection ritual and returned exhausted to a hotel reserved for health workers. Since the Chinese government restricted access to medical facilities, all reporters and filming crews were monitored by the authorities, but many hospitals welcomed media exposure, hoping for an outside help. It will be hard for viewers of 76 Days to identify any individual “actors” since all were covered head-to-toe in protective gear, while some nicknames were written on the hazmat suits.
Cinematography for 76 Days was done by Weixi Chen and Anonymous, using hand-held cameras. This somber documentary is presented in Mandarin with English subtitles.
93 minutes Rated: NR © Tami Smith, Film Reviewer