In the Same Breath – 9

I thought I didn’t need, or want, to see anything more about Covid but was totally transfixed by this documentary based on the outbreak as it happened in Wuhan. To have simply obtained the footage of Chinese citizens struggling to obtain medical treatment, of hospitals trying to provide care, and of officials trying to sanitize the news would be enough to make this a remarkable documentary. But director Nanfu Wang goes well beyond this extraordinary reportage by placing peoples’ reactions in the context of the Chinese police state–and then contrasting the results of that suppression with the just-as-bad results in our own land of the free. When I couple Time Magazine’s  recent report on the Chinese Communist Party’s push to create a uniformly Han country, eliminating all ethnic cultures, with this movie’s depiction of mass patriotic rallies, the Chinese threat to civilization as we know it is chilling. Our combined inabilities to deal with a global pandemic may be more immediate but ultimately no less troubling.

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