Award-winning “One Child Nation” filmmaker Nanfu Wang takes a close look at the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic in the upcoming documentary “In the Same Breath,” coming to HBO and HBO Max on August 18. “In the Same Breath” first premiered at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival to positive reviews.
Here’s the synopsis from HBO: “‘In the Same Breath’ recounts the experiences of people on the ground in the earliest days of the novel coronavirus and the way two countries dealt with its initial spread, from the first days of the outbreak in Wuhan to its rampage across the United States. Directed with a deeply personal approach by Wang, who was born in China and now lives in the United States, the film explores the early confusion and parallel campaigns by authorities to try to contain the virus as well as shape the public narrative through misinformation, resulting in a devastating impact on citizens of both countries.”
As Wang explained to IndieWire at Sundance, the project forced her to document those who believe the coronavirus is a hoax, the director said her goal as a filmmaker was not to cast judgment, but to understand why they believe the things they do.
“As an editor and a filmmaker I had to have the patience to understand and listen to them,” Wang said. “People in China who praise the government despite that they have family that died from Covid because of the lack of medical response and lack of care from the government, but they still say they are appreciative of the government, I look at those people and they could be my family or my friends. I would never look at them with disgust or contempt or as morally superior. I understand how they became that and how they got their information, how their ideology was formed.”
From IndieWire’s review out of Sundance: “The result is a sturdy and illuminating essay film that doesn’t exactly break news, but delivers a sobering message about the way the dangers of disinformation spread across the planet just in time to do serious damage. Like Wang’s previous effort, the masterful ‘One Child Nation,’ the filmmaker blends insightful observations with a vast sociopolitical canvas. While that movie tracked decades of abuse and cover-ups in service of China’s appalling one-child family policy, ‘In the Same Breath’ stuffs a broader media analysis into a year of dense, troubling developments worldwide.”