‘In the Same Breath’ Director Captures the Emotional Toll of Covid-19

 Filmmaker Nanfu Wang delivers the year’s most impactful film with ‘In the Same Breath.’

Filmmaker Nanfu Wang delivers the year’s most impactful film with ‘In the Same Breath.’

With ‘In the Same Breath,’ making its premier at reimagined 2021 Sundance Film Festival, the political story of our lifetimes transforms into the personal journey of a mother and her son caught in the coronavirus outbreak during a New Year’s visit with family near Wuhan China.

Stand-out documentary filmmaker Nanfu Wang (‘One Child Nation’), born in China, captures the emotional toll of Covid-19 by replacing news headlines with intimate stories of personal losses and recoveries.

Many of the film’s political topics are familiar to audiences who’ve been following the COVID-19 news in detail. What’s breathtaking and new are the individual stories Wang and her team of ten-plus cinematographers gather for an emotionally riveting feature from start to finish.

Scheduled for broadcast on HBO later this year, ‘In the Same Breath’ balances horrifying scenes of overworked hospital staff with heartfelt interviews of a Wuhan widow expressing the necessity of putting national interests over her interests. 

Wang and her crew capture multiple similarities between Chinese and United States authorities around questionable claims of success from government leaders and early cries of help from frontline healthcare workers. 

Wang’s reporting is unflinching when portraying the Chinese propaganda machine distributing positive stories of ordinary citizens overcoming adversities and some American news networks supporting disinformation from our U.S. political leaders. 

Thoughtfully, Wang and editor/husband Michael Shade prioritize family loss scenes over news footage of lockdowns and rising death counts. Their collaborative decisions result in a documentary that balances knowledge and empathy, courage and criticism, fear and hope.

The story of COVID-19 continues to change and grow each day with news of vaccine developments and coronavirus variants. Thankfully Nanfu Wang shows the courage to take creative risks and test her storytelling skills to make the most impactful documentary we’ll watch this year about the most important story of our lives. 

DirectorNanfu Wang (‘One Child Nation’)

Production Company: Cinetic Media

Distributor: HBO Films 


Air Date: 2021 

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