Stranded Film Crew Made A Chilling Short Docu About Life Under Wuhan’s COVID-19 Lockdown

The director hopes to expand the four-minute short into a feature-length documentary.

When China forced a lockdown of Wuhan on Jan 23 to contain the spread of the COVID-19 epidemic, among the millions stranded in the city were filmmaker Lan Bo and his film crew.

Before the shutdown, they were in the Hubei province capital working on a movie. Despite the forced production hiatus, they kept working — not on the movie, but a documentary about how the COVID-19 outbreak has impacted the city. Using footage they captured with their mobile phones, they put together Wuhan: The Long Night.

Set to a pensive score, the four-and-a half-minute short paints a grim and eerie portrait of a ghost town (which happens to be the docu’s Chinese title). The sight of the nearly abandoned streets and roads evokes memories of 28 Days Later (or Vanilla Sky). One surreal moment has a man singing out of his window onto a deserted street. That’s a guy with a story to share.

wuhan man singing
A heartbreaking scene from 'Wuhan: The Long Night': A man singing out of this apartment window onto the empty street. 

Hopefully, Lan will get to tell it. After the documentary went viral on Weibo, Lan is inspired to make a feature-length version, focusing on the folks, like the singing uncle, who were affected by the lockdown.

Speaking to online publication Sixth Tone, Lan Bo said, “My fellow crew members are in Wuhan and wanted to do something meaningful. They want to record what happened. First, since the lockdown, there hasn’t been a video presenting such a panoramic view [of the city]. And second, I feel that these are going to be valuable images for historical reference and for other documentaries.”

Click here to watch the video.

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