Monday, December 7, 2020

76 Days - Movie Review

The Documentary: 76 Days

The Director: Hao Wu, Weixi Chen, Anonymous

The Story: Raw and intimate, this documentary captures the struggles of patients and frontline medical professionals battling the COVID-19 pandemic in Wuhan.

The Review:
This documentary is intended to do one thing: honor the men and women who have worked tirelessly day in and day out to save lives, especially during this pandemic that has taken over the world, and it does that beautifully. Every step of the way, we see the drive and determination, the compassion and empathy, the emotion and the humanity that defines the men and women who are doing everything they can to save lives. As per the title, the filmmakers follow four hospitals in Wuhan over the first 76 days of the initial outbreak and shut down of the city. The stories are intense and emotional with lives literally at stake every step of the way.

It was very interesting to see how the entire city just completely shut down and, while I was expecting the massive crush of patients to overrun all of the medical facilities, that was never the case. There were of course a lot of cases, but because of the immediate and complete shut down, that was minimized to the point where medical facilities could handle the numbers that did show up without being extremely overburdened. Yes, we see doctors and nurses working way too many hours and help is brought in from other cities, but it was al very organized and executed with great precision which is in very stark contrast with some of the larger outbreaks here in the US cities.

I think the main thing that struck me was how the medical staff was so efficient and very strict although they were also very compassionate and empathetic at the same time. You could tell that they truly cared about every single person that needed their help and they did everything they could to do their best and to provide the highest quality of care possible. At the very beginning of the documentary, we see a man in deep distress over the fact that he was about to lose his father and he was seriously freaking out which you know, he should, and the medical staff was right there assisting him, helping him, talking to him, and giving him as much comfort as they could. It's a very emotional way to start the film but also very necessary as it really sets the tone for everything else that happens.

Here in America, we have lived with leaders and media sources that have thrown out pandemic related catch phrases and labels that are at best stereotypical and at worst down right racist so it's very important to see a documentary like this that shows humans who are just like anyone from anywhere else. Just like your local doctor or nurse or surgeon, the people of Wuhan are just that. They are people with lives and families and friends and goals and a desire to care for those who need it. As I said at the beginning of the review, this documentary honors the men and women, the human beings, whose job it is to provide health care, not just in the hospitals of Wuhan but in medical care facilities around the world.

The Verdict:
76 Days should be considered an essential documentary for 2020. For everything that has happened and everything we have been through as this year has unfolded, it is the people in health care that have truly been essential to our survival during a time that will be considered as one of the most challenging of our generation.

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