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Wuhan, the city shut down by coronavirus
Wuhan: The Long Night

This short film takes you through Wuhan, the city shut down by coronavirus

Wuhan: The Long Night exposes the magnitude of the lockdown, which is still ongoing following December’s outbreak

“At the moment, my life in Wuhan is all about my phone, my laptop, and the TV,” 24-year-old Fai told Dazed earlier this month. “There’s no one on the street, all the shops are closed, and we all need to pass a temperature test when entering the neighbourhood.”

Fai is discussing what life is like under lockdown, after being quarantined for two weeks in the Chinese city at the centre of the coronavirus outbreak. Now, a new short film has provided a visual to his story, taking viewers on a tour of the deserted city.

Created by filmmaker Lan Bo, Wuhan: The Long Night offers a glimpse into what life is currently like for those living in Wuhan, exposing the magnitude of what’s happening there. The city was shut down on January 23, almost a month after Chinese authorities alerted the World Health Organisation to the coronavirus epidemic, and the streets – usually roamed by 11 million residents – were abandoned.

Lan and his crew went to Wuhan to shoot a feature film, but became stranded in the city when the lockdown came into place. “(My crew and I) want to do something meaningful,” he told Sixth Tone, “and record what happened. “Since the lockdown, there hasn’t been a video presenting such a panoramic view. I feel that these are going to be valuable images for historical reference and other documentaries.”

The video – which can be watched here – tours a variety of locations in Wuhan during the first week of the lockdown, showing closed bridges, shuttered shops, and empty streets – save for a few lone wanderers. In one clip, a man leans out of his window and sings the famous Chinese song, “My Motherland and Me”.

Following the success of Wuhan: The Long Night – the video quickly went viral on Chinese platform Weibo – Lan plans to make a feature-length documentary about Wuhan in lockdown, centring on those still living in the city.

Since the coronavirus outbreak in December, people across the world have been on lockdown. 140 Russians were quarantined in a Siberian sanatorium; thousands of people were trapped on an infected cruise ship; a number of Fashion Week events were postponed or cancelled; and Tokyo’s Studio Ghibli museum has been forced to close. The epidemic has also sadly emboldened racism.

Read our article about how to not freak out about coronavirus here.