76 Days: Film Review

76 Days

I appreciate that some people may not be ready to watch a documentary about the coronavirus pandemic while we’re currently still in it, but if you feel up to it, I can assure you 76 Days is a remarkable feature and a well-made document of the unprecedented times we’re living in right now.

76 Days takes its name from the duration of the lockdown in Wuhan, China, where the virus originated in late 2019. The documentary features footage from four Wuhan hospitals shot between 23 January and 8 April 2020 – the duration of the lockdown. It primarily focuses on how the staff cope with the stressful medical situation as well as some patients, such as a grandpa with dementia who keeps leaving his bed and a couple waiting to take their newborn baby home.

There are moments in 76 Days, such as the ending and the first 10-15 minutes, that truly capture how devastating, upsetting, and stressful it must be to work in a hospital right now. In fact, it may actually be worse now, given that rates in the U.K. are higher than they were in the original lockdown. Some chaotic scenes are overwhelming and stress-inducing to watch so I can’t even imagine what it’s like to be in the thick of it – not having enough beds for the demand, never having a break to eat, catching sleep whenever possible in a chair in the corridor, wearing PPE that covers your entire body and face, and having to call the next of kin of the dead.

I had been bracing myself for lots of footage of dead/dying people but thankfully it doesn’t do that too much. It sounds like it will be all doom and gloom and while it is mostly a raw, powerful and bleak watch, there were also moments of lightness and hope to be found too, and I’m glad the documentary didn’t completely focus on the heavy, dark material. The staff – some of which have come from across China to help Wuhan – need to have outlets to cope with their day and I liked little details such as them creating drawings on their PPE and writing get well soon messages on blown-up medical gloves for their patients.

Although I have read many stories about what it’s like to work in a hospital during this time, 76 Days is the closest I’ve got to witnessing it properly and realising how bad it is. I have a great deal of respect and appreciation for frontline healthcare workers already, but if you don’t, you will after this.

Released on digital platforms on Friday 22nd January

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Comments

  1. Watching this one Wednesday.. not sure if I’m ready having just gotten past Covid myself..and it was brutal..but I gotta face up to and this is getting rave reviews! Thanks for pushing me into it with this great review.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hannah Wales says:

      Hi Peggy, Thank you for the lovely comment 😊 I’m glad you’ve come out the other side of your Covid battle. It’s a good film but a tough watch – let me know how you get on with it!

      Liked by 1 person

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