A bonus recorded version of the 10/23 LIVE Q&A with director Hao Wu is included immediately after the feature!
* This film is available to view in California only. Limited tickets.
Official Selection, 2020 Toronto International Film Festival
SDAFF OPENING FILM
2020 has thrown us mayhem. But it’s also gifted us 76 DAYS. This is Hao Wu, Weixi Chen, and Anonymous’ on-the-ground documentary set in Wuhan hospitals after the city was locked down on January 23. Sick patients and their families pound on hospital doors seeking attention, while doctors hold court with unthinkable poise. The streets outside are eerily empty, but within the hospital gates is a mad-dash with few breaks: front-of-line workers inspecting monitors, holding patients’ hands, and scurrying through hallways herding the lost and senile back into their rooms. Decked-out in head-to-toe PPE, the doctors are faceless miracle-makers whose easy movements bring calm, and whose soft consolations bring hope.
As we observe with floods of empathy, we start to recognize key characters. There is the woman who collects the cell phones and ID cards of the recently deceased. Or the Shanghai doctor who drove 500 miles to Wuhan to serve as reinforcement. On the other side is a pesky 70-something patient who, quite understandably, doesn’t know what’s going on. Or the young couple unable to see their newborn baby because of COVID fears. As the weeks pass, the tension subsides as hospitals find a rhythm and develop a system for mutual care. Every boxed lunch is a gift from the community, every gown and glove a canvas on which to draw words of love.
76 DAYS is not just a momentous feat of cinematography, sound, and editing. It’s an artifact for the future, so that years, generations, centuries later we’ll have a record of how human beings and their capacity to heal improvised solutions and managed an unimaginable crisis. For those of us still in 2020, for whom the pandemic is not past tense, 76 DAYS is the promise of light, if we promise to take care of each other.
Co-Presented by 21st Century China Center @ UC San Diego