This year´s JEONJU IFF has prepared a special screening to take a look back at the COVID-19 pandemic, which has become an obstacle to the lives of people all around the world since last year. The films presented in the special program strive to capture the pain of those who got infected and the efforts made by dedicated medical staff. Also, they depict the means and methods made by us to overcome this era.
The documentary Coronation is directed by Ai Weiwei, a world-renowned Chinese artist, human rights activist, and documentary filmmaker. The film sharply captures Wuhan, China, the center of the COVID-19 during the sudden lockdown early last year, from the gloomy atmosphere in the ICUs at the hospitals to ordinary people’s struggles in quarantine. Also, it unveils the authorities’ policy to cover up the situation without resolving the problem. While staying in Europe, Ai Weiwei completed the film by carefully editing videos from various documentary filmmakers and people in Wuhan. Totally Under Control moves its setting to the United States and vividly depicts how the country was during the COVID-19 outbreak last year. Director Alex Gibney, who created controversial films such as Citizen K and The Armstrong Lie, frankly exposes how absurdly the United States under the Trump administration responded to the disaster of the century. He points out the irreversible errors that the U.S. is making by comparing the situation to South Korea, which has been considered as a country that well-responded to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Chinese documentary The Ark isn’t directly connected to the tragedy of COVID-19 but shares profound emotional unity. The hospital, where the director’s grandmother fought against the disease before she passed away of old age, is located in Wuhan, China. As the COVID-19 breaks out, the hospital becomes busy. And the depression generated from the grandmother being sick resonates with the fear caused by the pandemic of the century. The First Wave. Milan in the time of Covid-19 is the result of Milan’s filmmakers, who have been struggling due to the long lockdown by the Italian government. Fifty-seven directors living in Milan filmed their surroundings and edited them together to show how people live vitally and in hope, despite the pandemic. The five Korean short films with different perspectives also reflect the country’s current situation.
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