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‘Vitals’ does not shock us with its soulless portrait of the pandemic

The cinema resists in stages as difficult as that of the current coronavirus pandemic and does not miss any opportunity. Because it is nourished by our vital circumstances, of which not a few filmmakers claim to offer a heartfelt and sincere reflection. Or use them for interesting fictions. Not surprisingly, there were soon proposals on the matter. The most immediate, apart from television reports, were the dozens of shorts that were released during the disastrous and monothematic 2020. And, later, a few anthological miniseries and the rigorous documentaries. To which he adds now Vitals: A human story (Fèlix Colomer Vallès, 2021).

No impact

We can see in Vitals both decent moments of personal connections and others underpinned by a hackneyed tear-jerk soundtrack.

The selected title is between the unspecific, because it could be valid for a multitude of issues, and what we would expect for a farting movie on television. In fact, we can see in Vitals both decent moments of personal connections and others underpinned by a hackneyed tear-jerk soundtrack that would only be missing the synthesizer. It does not fail, yes, by showing the logical suffering and fear of sick people and the health workers who treat them in the hospital. And the encouragement and concern of their families. But without much eloquence, or very valuable testimonies or, of course, any kind of expository brilliance.

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The entire miniseries is by an indisputable but soulless realism. They have failed to capture shocking facts. Not in an empty or gratuitous way, but in substance and that they come to mind. They have not achieved something similar in a hospital in Sabadell to how 76 Days (Hao Wu and Weixi Chen, 2020) begins in one in Wuhan, for example. And this circumstance is a matter of chance, if we can afford such a frivolous comment with life and death at stake during a terrible health crisis. But, on the other hand, Fèlix Colomer is more inspired by the audiovisual compositions of Sasha (2016) and Shootball (2017). And luckier with the material.

A false claim

Fèlix Colomer is more inspired by the audiovisual compositions of Sasha (2016) and Shootball (2017), and luckier with the material

Another of the most striking problems of Vitals is the following statement from a doctor pastoral, who blesses the table before tasting a single bite of his food, in the second episode: “What is the great fear of these diseases without treatment? The fear of dying. And what is the great antidote to the fear of dying? Faith. So imagine if it is important to live with faith and hope. Does this have any effect? Well, yes: what we doctors see is that, for people who face any disease with energy and courage, statistically, the probability of being cured is higher ”. And, hey, long live Pepa.

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But this, according to the corresponding studies, is in the antipodes of reality: if a certain patient complies with all the details of a treatment or a therapy, his ultra-positive attitude or of absolute demoralization is completely irrelevant in the development of his disease. It can heal as well as the opposite even if the little phrases of Mr. Wonderful come out of his ears. And, regretting it, it must be said that the documentary is a genre of thesis, and the rigor in it, essential and evaluable. And, if one affirms something false but not obvious, the obligation is to deny it.

The emotional ties of ‘Vitals’

The purpose of Vitals is not shocking, but to collect emotional and, ultimately, hopeful testimonies

Vitals will remain as one more document on how the covid-19 pandemic was, available for the next generations who wish to know their reality … in that way. Because Fèlix Colomer and his team have not captured it in all its possible rawness, or the chosen place was not hit as much as others. And his intention seems to collect emotional and ultimately hopeful testimonies, almost with a recognizable sensitivity of Antonio Mercero (4th Floor). Y The bonds that are forged between the survivors and the health workers who live here are nice to see. But they are not enough to impress us.

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