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Online Premieres: Criticism of “Covid Diaries NYC”, From Various Directors (HBO)

This medium-length film includes five shorts filmed by young film students in the middle of New York’s first quarantine, in April 2020. It premieres on HBO on March 17 at 10 p.m.

Quarantine diaries, live broadcasts during the pandemic, and shorts recounting personal experiences throughout these troubled times seem in a nearly exhausted genre. It gives the impression that it is difficult to do or say something new on the subject. COVID DIARIES NYC it does not reinvent the genre far from it, but it does take a different perspective that makes it clear, among other things, why representation in the audiovisual is important.

The five shorts that are shown in this program dedicated to what is happening with the pandemic in New York City have the peculiarity that they were made by young people between 17 and 21 years old, most of them members of minorities (Latinos, African Americans) and of lower social classes. This in itself gives it a very different character from the usual ones, which are usually artists, filmmakers or celebrities with other types of problems when facing the crisis.

Here the issues are more concrete and brutal: the lack of work, the lack of money, essential jobs that force us to put our lives at risk every day and people who get sick. But the shorts (all documentaries) are not necessarily built from drama but from experience. And all of them, rather than finish, are interrupted, as if making it clear that what we are seeing is only a time – which goes from the brutal arrival of the Covid to New York to the Black Lives Matter marches, or between April and June – in the lives of these people.

“The only way to live in Manhattan” focuses on Marcial Pilataxi, a boy who works as a delivery boy and also collaborates with his grandmother who is in charge of a building in Manhattan. Marcial’s experiences on the street and the fear he has that his grandmother – along with the one who picks up trash from the building all the time – is contagious are the axis of the short.

In “My panic at Covid”, Aracelie Colón suffers for her father who works in the post office taking risks every day and, in parallel, she deals with some mental health problems that were diagnosed shortly before the pandemic and her difficulties in obtaining professional care for this issue. “When my father had Covid” It is explained with the title. The director / protagonist, Camille Dianand, lives in fear that her father – who works on the New York subway – will catch it, something that eventually ends up happening.

New York with no way out” takes as its axis the economic and then emotional crisis of Shane Fleming’s parents, who have lost their jobs and cannot continue to pay their rent and bills, forcing them to move to Illinois. By last, “Family on the front line” follows Arlet Guallpa and his family (he is the only one who speaks almost everything in Spanish) who live in Washington Heights. He drives a bus and she cares for the elderly at home, which makes them essential workers and one of the most prone to infection.

Which COVID DIARIES NYC It offers, more than anything else, is the strength of experience, the power of registration in sectors of the population that do not have too many options when facing a crisis like this one. The boys who direct and star live with relatives, survive with just enough, constantly suffer for the fate of their elders and, in the midst of all that, experience so much the disdain of some (Arlet cannot believe the number of people who go up to the buses without masks) like the “Black Lives Matter” marches that begin to impact the city.

Produced by DCTV Youth Media – an independent organization that provides free training, mentoring and professional development in the area of ​​film for teens and young adults in New York -, COVID DIARIES NYC deals with one of the “potholes” of the experiences that have been narrated during 2020. The daily and difficult life of those who have to survive, as they can, amid the first impact of quarantines in the world.

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