Directed by: Gulinoz Javodova
Starring: Derek Norman, Leandra Mira
We don’t need to be reminded how bad 2020 had been for all of us when its adverse effect continues to live in the current year. Plans were canceled, and humans were quarantined as a lethal virus roamed throughout the globe. The event was/is not far from a version of those fictional sci-fi apocalyptic movies. With Pandemidoc, Gulinoz Javodova documents our living conditions during the pandemic through the stories of some individuals that will surely resonate universally.
Javodova picks certain people and unfurls their thoughts as per their profession. For example, Leandra Mira, the leading organizer of Pittsburgh’s FridaysForFuture and Youth Climate Strike, will normally chat with us while Dahlak Brathwaite, a hip-hop artist, will sing to us. The videos are honest and sincere. I liked the section featuring the journalist from The New York Times named Derek Norman. We are aware of the struggles faced by the healthcare workers – the real heroes – during the pandemic. It was interesting to hear how the reporting changed at a time like this. (Norman posted the news on social media by writing “update” in a thread and then updating it with the latest happenings like the announcement regarding the closing of schools.) It was a tough time, and major decisions were made almost constantly. Everything came with the label of “breaking news.”
Not everybody simply tells us about their experience. Olad Aden, a street social worker in Germany, gives a glimpse of a typical day at his work, showing how he has been doing his job during such a bleak time. His segment is light and breezy, like a grateful relief after excruciating pain.
Pandemidoc does not just take you back a year to show the harmful result of the coronavirus. It also shows how the world simultaneously grappled with other heinous crimes, including the horrifying and disgusting George Floyd incident that gave rise to the #BlackLivesMatter movement. Darnnell Dorvil, aka Story Teller Gordon, recites a heartbreaking poem regarding the incident (his website says “I’m No Poet” in bold). While reporting the episodes from the past, Pandemidoc concomitantly shows the victory of humans in the face of catastrophe – How we stood up for each other or how some of us graduated even during such a difficult time in history. Pandemidoc is itself a win for Javodova, who completed this documentary despite the prevailing calamity. Though the shift from one piece to the next is not always smooth, it nevertheless makes for an uplifting reminder about the positive power of human beings.