Acclaimed filmmaker Nanfu Wang navigates the origin and spread of COVID-19 from Wuhan to the United States through a lens both personal and geopolitical in scale. The result is a wrenching, wide-reaching documentary that contextualizes the trauma experienced by health-care workers and the families of loved ones lost. At the same time, the documentary probes President Xi Jinping’s and President Donald Trump’s eerily similar responses to the pandemic: Both men spread disinformation and sowed mass confusion during the most critical moments of the pandemic.
By detailing scores of firsthand Chinese and Americans interviews, Wang methodically builds a devastating indictment of leadership’s response to the pandemic, pointing to an unprecedented level of deception and ineptitude from the highest levels of government. The result is a tragedy born out of a rapid domino effect of cover-ups, mismanagement, and lies. Despite the infuriating revelations this film lays bare, its lasting power rests in the stories of individuals who risked everything for others—and for the truth.