TIFF 2020 film ’76 Days’ captures the struggles of patients and frontline medical professionals battling the COVID-19 pandemic

Asha Bajaj
3 min readSep 25, 2020

#TIFF; #TIFF2020; #45thTorontoInternationalFilmFestival; #76Days; #China; #Covid19Pandemic

Toronto, Sep 23 (Canadian-Media): Directed by U.S.-based Chinese-American screenwriter-editor, Hao Wu, Weixi Chen, and Anonymous, the Chinese documentary film 76 Day captures the struggles of patients and frontline medical professionals battling the COVID-19 pandemic inside Wuhan’s hospitals at the onset of the pandemic.

76 Days. Image credit: TIFF

The anguished cry, “Papa!” with which the film opens plunges straight into the turmoil and agony of the coronavirus, as a group of medical workers race through the corridors of a hospital. The grief-stricken daughter is one of those workers, arriving at her father’s room too late to bid him goodbye. Her colleagues restrain her, console her, try to calm her; they’ll need her to stay strong for the afternoon shift.

In the opening sequences, the spectators feel like they are watching science-fiction, zombie horror, apocalyptic thriller as hospital workers covered in PPE race from one patient to another. But this a reality of 2020.

The hospital doors are blocked with a desperate crowd screaming for but overwhelmed workers can only admit a few people at a time.

On January 23, the city of 11 million people went into a lockdown that lasted 76 days, and filmmakers with strong camera work captured a crucial record of life inside Wuhan, China, the center of the outbreak of COVID-19 as if they were still images.

With the camera’s main focus on medical workers and patients in the face of fear and uncertainty, the director of the film also portrays perseverance and humor when medical workers use magic markers to decorate their plastic outfits.

The fact that this aching scene unfolds without a single face fully visible makes it all the more haunting as most of the figures are shown covered head to toe…

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Asha Bajaj

I write on national and international Health, Politics, Business, Education, Environment, Biodiversity, Science, First Nations, Humanitarian, gender, women