Honestly, I have mixed feelings about COVID documentaries. It’s been a tough year-and-a-half, and for many, we just don’t need another reminder. But years…decades…from now, we’re going to want to process these events. So we may not see the importance of the documentaries now, but they’ve got to be made.
Julio Lumbreras was one of the first patients in Spain to contract COVID in 2020, and filmmakers Mario Lumbreras and Laura Brasero tell his battle over COVID in their documentary short, 57 days.
When Julio was hospitalized, COVID was a story making its way around the world. There was no time to make a formal documentary. So instead, Julio’s story is pieced together with family cellphone photos and recorded conversations between Julio’s family and doctor.
“…Julio struggles so much that doctors suggest he be placed in a medically-induced coma.”
The story begins on day one when Julio is taken to the emergency room. His tests came back negative for COVID, though the tests were relatively primitive at this point. However, over the next few days, it’s clear he has COVID, and his conditioning is worsening. Finally, Julio struggles so much that doctors suggest he be placed in a medically-induced coma. Here the family begins to panic.
Given that most of the film consists of audio-recorded diary entries from Julio’s wife and children and still photos from their camera, filmmakers Lumbreras and Brasero tell an engaging story of what many patients and families went through in the early days…and with mixed results. I also think that reading the English subtitles helped maintain engagement on my part as well.
Personally, I was fortunate not to have experienced what the Lumbreras family went through, but after seeing 57 Days, I’m able to look at what COVID is and what it does in a more sobering manner.
"…able to look at what COVID is and what it does in a more sobering manner."