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Documentary | Behind the scenes of the epidemic

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Tony Vaughn
Tony Vaughn
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We’ve seen many (more than necessary) pictures of stretchers entering the emergency room for a year. Very few are on the other side of the popular swing doors. Beyond the intensive care, on the different floors, in the corridors and other laboratories of the different hospitals, what really happened? An unprecedented documentary that raises the veil behind the scenes of the epidemic. Welcome to the anthill.

Silvia JaliboSilvia Jalibo

Or the army. Or frankly the proud battalion. The Great Battle, Which was shown Monday on ICI TOU.TV and broadcast Wednesday evening on ICI-Canada Radio Télé, actually paints a brighter picture of the epidemic than the one we’ve been used to so far. Forget the heart-wrenching images of the impotent elderly and other exhausted attendees. Of course, fatigue is evident. Stress is ubiquitous. But the point is elsewhere: “Me, 2020, it was a rollercoaster of emotions,” “An opportunity to learn a lot of things,” “a generally positive experience (I don’t need to come back to life)”. I admit that they are inconsistent.

The story began based on these unusual testimonies from various health workers, a kind of recall last year (unique and above all historical), seen from the inside, at the University Hospital Center of Montreal (CHUM). The back of the lab coat, if you will. You should know that the photos were taken by CHUM itself, since the start of the epidemic, in March. For historical reasons, to document the general, in a nutshell, “for the duty of memory.” After that, the entire film, over 100 hours in total, was delivered to District 3, which has produced a unique documentary, not only through its content, but also through its production process.

Photo by Marco Campanuzzi, press

Myriam Al-Aroush Director The Great Battle

With her team, director Miriam LaRouche started by viewing dozens of hours of photos from CHUM, then coming up with a script. And this, as content continues to return, requires annual review. The final scene of the movie (a survivor is discharged from the hospital to the hospital, to applause from the medical team), the dividing line, too good to be true, was entered straight two weeks before the final product was delivered.

If the whole thing, at times, can pass for a practice in public relations, the manager claims to make sure it isn’t. “I wanted to make sure that was not the case,” she confirms. Zero it. Yes, CHUM has documented everything, but regardless of location [un hôpital flambant neuf]It’s everyone’s business that’s celebrated here, not how CHUM is managed. ”

Image provided by Radio Canada

Documentary scene The Great Battle

Moreover, if Miriam LaRouche thought in advance about identifying some of the main characters in the story (the “classic approach”), she soon realized that it was impossible in this case. Why ? Because the story is elsewhere. “The story is not four people,” she explains. This is the most important. “He’s everyone from all the departments in the hospital.” From the third basement to disinfection all the way to the top floor of the laboratory including a respiratory therapist, an emergency doctor, and even a security guard.

And the “great battle” is: this collective action, this unprecedented cooperation, of a real “army” in reaction and in continuous adaptation.

A far cry from the one that was presented to us throughout the year during various television broadcasts. Also forget here the sick (very few on screen, moreover) and the usual intruders. The director says, “What we saw on TV, it was always pretty much the same doctors, the pictures in intensive care, etc. But we didn’t really know what was going on elsewhere.”

Elsewhere, like when we were told at a press conference that masks of essential workers might be running out, for example. How have the hospitals been coping, in a tangible way? You will find it here. How was the clearance in the field? The same. The art of “turning around” as they say. “On 10 cents,” the director specifies. The film is also based on chronological order, and interspersed with the voice of the Prime Minister, at a press conference.

Image provided by Radio Canada

Documentary scene The Great Battle

You remember? That was recently: “There will be 11 months nurses and all the health workers at the front…”, we were told. Upstairs, how are all these employees doing? “It is difficult and mentally exhausting,” says Myriam Al-Aroush, “but there is something stronger that drives them.” They are there because they have an invitation. It is amazing. I’m a fan. Which ultimately helps paint a really positive picture. “I see very little light in this epidemic,” she concluded. Another important story is also to present. Show something you haven’t seen. it’s new. […] I am honored to be able to put the spotlight on those who save lives. ”

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The Great Battle: A Year of Mobilization in CHUM, Will be shown online on Monday on ICI Tou.TV, then broadcast on ICI TÉLÉ, Wednesday, March 17th at 9 PM.

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