Coronation (2020)
August 27, 2020 1:58 AM - Subscribe

A team directed by activist and artist Ai Weiwei films inside the hospitals, homes, and quarantine sites of Wuhan, the first city hit in the global COVID-19 pandemic. (Trailer; viewable via Alamo or Vimeo.)

Film website; Ai Weiwei interview in the NYT.
"Patients and their families are interviewed, reflecting their thinking about the pandemic and expressing anger and confusion over the state’s callous restriction of their liberties. the film also takes us into the private lives of individuals living under the lockdown: a couple attempt to return to their home in wuhan, a courier delivers essentials to residents barred from leaving their community, an emergency construction worker stuck in limbo is forced to live out of his car, a former party cadre and her son debate the function of the media and the party’s response to the outbreak, a grieving son navigates the bureaucracy of retrieving his father’s ashes."
(Reviews in ARTnews, IndieWire, Guardian.)
posted by progosk (3 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I'm curious to see what people think of this. I haven't watched it yet because I'm already pretty emotionally fragile so I wasn't sure if I could handle it.
posted by miss-lapin at 1:45 PM on August 27, 2020

It's pretty impressive. Meditative, but also in the midst of things; it isn't out to shock, more to attempt to portray what folks there were living through. It conveys an image of China I would imagine a lot of people will find unexpected. The pace of the film is lock-down-ralenti, so there's time to ponder, and for impressions, characters and reflections to sink in.
posted by progosk at 4:29 PM on August 27, 2020 [2 favorites]

It's incredibly striking both visually and emotionally. There are some challenging parts, for example shot in the ICU or footage of people picking up the ashes of their relatives. However, as progosk notes nothing is presented to shock.

There is an otherworldly quality. Many of the subjects spend most of the time masked or in full PPE and the landscapes are vast, be it the masses of lit-up skyscrapers or the interminable hospital corridor that a doctor walks down on his way to work.

An impressive piece of work to be put together under a total lockdown. I find myself wondering what is happening to the people involved in the production now.
posted by roolya_boolya at 2:24 PM on September 1, 2020 [1 favorite]

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