2020 was the most difficult year, around the world, in post-war history. 2021 seems set to rival it, but with the approval of several vaccines at least there’s now a light at the end of a very long tunnel. Whilst it’s not over yet, thoughts have turned to the handling of the pandemic. With the World Health Organisation currently in China investigating the origins of this outbreak, hopefully we’ll get some clarity; but I’m not holding my breath.

Nanfu Wang (Hooligan Sparrow, One Child Nation) found herself personally involved when the COVID-19 pandemic broke-out in Wuhan. What she saw in China spurred her into action. In the Same Breath investigates the response to this global pandemic in her native and adopted (the US) countries. By interviewing medical staff, citizen journalists and using footage from inside of hospitals, she builds up a damning picture of state oppression, misinformation and incompetence.

In the Same Breath is a powerful and intricately constructed documentary which highlights massive failures and concerted cover-ups. Whilst much of the emphasis is on the similarities between both countries, it is perhaps the testimonies of the medical staff which are the most disturbing. Many are suffering from what can only be described as PTSD. It’s clear we won’t know the full cost of this crisis for years to come. In the Same Breath shines the light on the reality behind the propaganda.  

In the Same Breath screens at Sundance Film Festival.