FRONTLINE: The Virus That Shook The World
(DVD / NR / 2021 / PBS)
Overview: FRONTLINE examines living through the year of the pandemic, filmed around the world, from lockdowns to funerals to protests.
Using extensive personal video and local footage, see how people and countries responded to the virus, with the differing struggles, beliefs and responses, across cultures, race, faith and privilege.
DVD Verdict: The Virus That Shook The World (two parts, 167 mins) brings a global perspective of the ravage and damage, both in physical terms and in emotional terms, caused by the global pandemic known as the Coronavirus that spread like a fire around the globe in 2020.
The documentary looks at its (still not clear) origins in Wuhan, PRC, and how it then, at first tentatively, then rapidly and ultimately unstoppably, spread around the globe,
Of course, the film makers try to stay away from the political side of things, and instead focus on personal experiences as lived by people both nearby and in far flung places. Among others, we get to know a first responder in London, a struggling artist in India, and a tribal leader in remote Brazil.
This is actually only the latest from veteran documentary director James Bluemel so please do not confuse this documentary from the very similarly entitled UK documentary Outbreak: The Virus That Shook the World, which premiered a few months before this one, and covers the very same topic.
As I mentioned, this tries to shy away from all politics, but nevertheless you can easily sense the utter incompetence if not brazen recklessness or worse from Brazil’s President Bolsonaro, India’s Prime Minister Modi, and yes, our very own Donald One day, it’s like a miracle, it will disappear Trump.
It will takes years to sort out the true human cost of this pandemic, which on top of the hundred thousands of deaths, also has taken a high toll on the mental wellbeing in much of the world.
This documentary works best when we get footage from these unfamiliar (and typically far flung) places like that tribal area in remote Brazil or what life is really like for that struggling artist in India.
Towards the end of this documentary, we hear from a nurse in England, lamenting that I have lost my ability to smile as we are told it is December 31st, 2020 and that nurse (and we) are all too ready to leave 2020 behind us.
In closing, as aforementioned, this is not the first, and surely not the last, documentary that examines what REALLY did happen during this terrible pandemic. However, if you have any interest in the Coronavirus, regardless of your politics, I would readily suggest you check this PBS documentary out, and draw your own conclusions.
Episode 1: Living the year of the pandemic, filmed around the world, from lockdowns to funerals to protests. Using extensive personal video and local footage, how people and countries responded to the virus, across cultures, race, faith and privilege.
Episode 2: Part Two of the epic story of people around the world living in the year of the pandemic. With extensive personal video and local footage, examine the differing struggles, beliefs and responses, across cultures, race, faith and privilege.
This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.
Official PBS Purchase Link