AFI Film Festival AW Kautzer's Film Review Film

76 Days – AFI Film Festival 2020

76 Days

76 Days puts us at ground zero for COVID-19 in China’s Wuhan district.  It’s one of the most harrowing and arresting Documentaries of 2020.  

A trio of directors Hao Wu, Weixi Chen, and Anonymous had unprecedented access at the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak and lockdown in Wuhan, China.  This is an account of those first two and a half months as the first responders at various hospitals fight the virus with compassion and empathy.  76 Days is not for anyone with triggering anxiety about this virus.  The verité-style documentary put you in the boots and masks of the first responders.  Showing you the faces of those that are fighting and losing the battle. 

Though the film is serious in its tackling of the subject Hao Wu, Weixi Chen, and Anonymous find small grace moments to show the human side.  Levity comes through the heightened drama.  The directors ensure to show us the hopeful side.  The side that continues to push these men and women through.  Like the older patient, everyone calls “grandpa” who is constantly sneaking out of his room, or the nursing staff and doctors drawing cartoons and inspirational quotes on their PPEs before they begin their shifts.  Though even those moments have emotional punctuations giving the outbreak a humanity we haven’t seen.  

76 Days is a vital documentary that needs to be seen by all in 2020.  It not only shows the consequence of this deadly virus.  It gives us hope that through compassion, diligence, and empathy we can survive and beat it.  

76 Days is playing AFI Film Festival’s Documentary Section