The Oscar-nominated and Emmy Award-winning director Matthew Heineman takes us deep into the belly of the Coronavirus beast, with a documentary that is shocking, disturbing but all-together-too-familiar.
This film feels necessary: it is, perhaps, a sort of catharsis from a globalised once-in-a-century trauma that we have all lived through this past 18 months.
The First Wave follows physician Dr. Nathalie Dougé, nurse Kellie Wunsch, and physical therapist Karl Arabian. These three frontline workers are a microcosm of the hospital’s response to COVID-19, from the initial rapid response to being support for patients and family through harrowing tragedy to helping patients in their long road to recovery.
The sheer resilience needed to survive the hospital setting is gargantuan, but the turbulence of the world (along with its unfairness and prejudice) makes this an even more poignant watch.
The events of June 2020 and the murder of George Floyd triggered a global conversation around institutional racism – something that is also insidiously impacting on the healthcare and treatment of people of colour.
This documentary shows how four months in 2020 left an indelible mark on these doctors, nurses, medical professionals – and on the rest of us, too.
“It’s both a vital piece of historical record that bravely captures the unseen horrors of the pandemic and a generous celebration of human dignity whose existence feels miraculous.” Tomris Laffly, Variety magazine