Director Nanfu Wang talks about In the Same Breath, her eye-opening look at how China and the US made major mistakes during the pandemic
“Five, four, three, two, one. Happy new year!” This was Wuhan, China, at the dawn of 2020. Balloons climbed in the night sky. Shimmering light effects illuminated skyscrapers. Amid the joy came the solemn tolling of a bell – never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.
Later on new year’s day, Chinese state media said that Wuhan police reported “eight people were punished for spreading rumours about an unknown pneumonia”. This juxtaposition of celebration and repression haunted Nanfu Wang during the making of In the Same Breath, her moving diptych about the coronavirus pandemic in China and America.