A startling look at how two of the world’s most powerful nations handled the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, and prioritised their reputations over public safety.
Nanfu Wang, USA, 2021, M, 95 min, Courtesy: Foxtel/HBO
When award-winning documentarian Nanfu Wang (One Child Nation) went to visit her mother in Wuhan, she had no idea what was coming. It was January 2019 and beyond a few rumours of a mysterious new type of pneumonia, life was ‘normal’. Two years later, we are living with COVID.
In the Same Breath is an exploration of how China and the United States dealt with the initial outbreak of COVID-19, downplaying its severity to preserve public image. Wang asks the question: if these powerful nations had been more transparent and forthcoming with information, could the world have been spared this seemingly endless pandemic?
“Wang Nanfu’s extraordinary documentary sees contemporary political structures are as much of a disease as Covid-19, and, in the long run, the deadlier foes.” – Slant Magazine
Wang provides explosive on-the-ground footage from Wuhan, then the US, as the virus spreads throughout the world, and with it, confusion, anger and misinformation. With first-hand accounts from doctors, nurses, patients and grieving loved ones, Wang focuses on the individuals who endeavoured to uncover and share the truth, despite facing red tape and roadblocks from authorities. In the Same Breath cuts above the sensationalist noise of the pandemic news-cycles, and provides a refreshingly measured take on misinformation in the age of COVID.