The documentary film by Orlando von Einsiedel is a gentle reminder for people not to take things for granted and appreciate little joys in life. It also sends out an important message of unity and solidarity during these testing times of the pandemic.
Convergence: Courage in a Crisis
The Netflix documentary film, directed by Orlando von Einsiedel, takes us through the entire journey from the onset of the pandemic to the development of vaccines, showcasing the efforts of healthcare providers and volunteers during the time.
The documentary sets high hopes with its opening scene. It shows the lively global community, partying and hanging out with each other and then transitioning into a clip showcasing the entire world shutting down due to the onset of the COVID-19. The film shows the onset of the pandemic but it does not portray it to an appropriate length, and hence it does not set the tone for the film quite right. The film follows the journeys of patients, healthcare providers, volunteers, the poor and the homeless during the pandemic.
It also portrays the mental agony of the people stuck in their homes during the lockdown, with video bytes of Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General. It chronicles the lives of people around the world during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The highlights of the documentary are the subjects it addresses and its background score. Apart from the pandemic, it talks about racism, mental health issues, natural disasters and inequality even during times of one of the world's worst crises. The film also captures the worldwide protest #blacklivesmatter after the death of George Floyd, and the struggles of black and brown people. It was shocking to learn that the WHO director Dr Tedros received death threats while he was trying to help the world deal with the pandemic and felt helpless many a time due to world politics.
But many of these issues are addressed just on the surface, scattering them throughout the narrative. Hence, it fails to strike a chord with viewers. The intent of the film is sincere but it tries to address too many issues and doesn't do proper justice to them. It tries to convey many things within its limited time frame. It would have better suited the format of a mini docuseries and not a film. However, even the two-hour film is like an excruciating experience, especially when you are reliving the memories of a horrible past, something you would like to move on from.
It beautifully captures the little victories of different people and sets an example of the importance of solidarity and unity. One of the characters Hassan had raised his voice against the unfair bereavement policy, which created a storm on social media, forcing the government to revoke it within hours. It shares interviews of citizens saying that they learned to appreciate little things in life. The way the film shows Hassan giving Gimba, his colleague at the hospital, a surprise by taking her on a detour and showing a poster of her having lunch at a bus stop, gets your eyes welled up.
The film ends with a montage of many people singing 'Lean on Me' on zoom calls, which brings a smile to one's face and reminds them there's always a ray of hope, even at the end of the tunnel and that you are not alone in this world.
The documentary reminds one that we should not take things for granted and come together as a global community to fight the pandemic. However, it is too long and excruciating and could have better suited a format of a mini-series.