The 93-minute film was shot during the lockdown in Wuhan, the epicentre of the pandemic. it premiered on Monday at the Toronto International Film Festival. Using the cinema-vérité style, it shows, unvarnished, sickness, death and sometimes the healing of COVID-19 patients, as well as the dedication of the medical staff. It is unclear if the film will be shown in China.
Toronto (AsiaNews/Agencies) – The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) on Monday screened a film about the horror of the coronavirus pandemic that had Wuhan as its epicentre.
The images and the stories focus on the tragedy and the heroism of sick people, doctors and nurses who had to face an unprecedented experience.
The film, 76 Days, by director Hao Wu and two co-directors, Weixi Chen and one who wished to remain anonymous, premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival.
Hao Wu, who is based in New York, personally experienced the pain of COVID-19 as his grandfather died in China right after the lockdown was imposed.
His associates live in China and have worked under his guidance. Fearing consequences for his life, one of his co-directors withheld his name given the veil of silence and censorship the Chinese government has imposed on what can be said about the pandemic.
The title of the film refers to the number of days of total isolation endured by the city of Wuhan.
The two co-directors were able to go inside a hospital where, wearing protective gear – masks, goggles and visors – filmed everything they could.
They saw the dead being pulled in plastic bags, tearful family members not allowed to say goodbye, exhausted doctors and nurses walking amid the patients, sick people banging at the hospital entrance unable to get it because the facility was already full.
The 93-minute documentary uses the cinema-vérité style, without voiceover or interviews: only the harsh reality, barely softened by acts of affection of the healthcare staff towards patients and the dead.
According to Hao Wu, the documentary does not take a political stance, but only shows human faces that react and go through life experiences that might lead to despair.
For now, the film is set to be distributed in the United States. Wu would like it to be shown in China as well, but due to the COVID-19 censorship, he is not sure that it will.