76 Days

Directed by: Hao Wu & Weixi Chen
Distributed by: MTV Entertainment Studios

Written by Maria Athayde


There is no question that doctors, nurses, and other front-line workers are heroes. The way these individuals had to mobilize during COVID is unprecedented in modern history. “76 Days” is a fly-on-the-wall documentary by Chen, Wu, and Anonymous that documents the initial days of the COVID-19 pandemic in Wuhan, China. Throughout my viewing, a few questions came to mind. How did the filmmakers get access to the hospitals and contamination zones? Did patients give consent to be documented? How did governments fail at a global level in response to this virus?

My instinct, for the first question, is that the Chinese government granted filmmakers access. Over the years, every time a big Hollywood tent poll has been released questions about censorship in China come up. I doubt it would be any different for a documentary especially when the country’s reputation could be jeopardized. Everything that was depicted in “76 Days” had to be done with a deliberate purpose. I find it unlikely that consent was obtained given the urgency to contain the virus. I am eager to continue reading in the years ahead how the abject failure of the majority of governments around the world, let this happen. 

“76 Days” was harrowing. Yet, amid all the chaos and death the cinematographers were able to capture a few silver linings that were epitomized in the birth of a baby girl, messages front-line workers wrote on their hazmat suits, and the disposable gloves they attached to face masks to cheer up patients.

If you want to read more about government censorship you should check out Reporters Without Borders or the Council on Foreign Relations.

“76 Days” Trailer

You can follow Maria Manuella Pache de Athayde on LetterboxdSerializd, Twitter, and view more of what she’s up to here.

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