The First Wave
When the Covid-19 pandemic struck, hospital staff found themselves on the front line. This essential film documents the first wave as experienced by New York City’s emergency medical workers.
Matthew Heineman, Jenna Millman, Leslie Norville
USA 2021. 94min
March 2020 saw COVID-19 spread rapidly through the West. Matthew Heineman (Cartel Land, A Private War) follows emergency medical responders in New York City, risking their lives on the front-line as they confront the devastation wreaked during those first four months. Nurses hear endless pleas from patients who can’t breathe – words that would soon become synonymous with the Black Lives Matter movement following George Floyd’s murder at the hands of the police. While huge protests are mobilised to counter systemic racism, in hospital wards the disproportionate impact of Covid-19 on Black and Hispanic communities is palpable. Health centres are overwhelmed and staff are exhausted and heartbroken. This is a searing and intimate portrait of the nurses and doctors caught in the eye of a storm and working with a heroic and inspirational commitment to care.
Contains scenes viewers may find distressing.
Calling all film fans aged 16 to 25! Book £5 tickets in advance to see this film on BFI Player with your 25 & Under account. Sign up now.
The BFI Player screening on Saturday 9 October will be presented with an audio-description soundtrack for customers who are blind or partially-sighted, and will have optional closed captions for customers who are D/deaf or hard of hearing.
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