one Can say that the story began twenty days ago when I called a young friend named Yegor Solomatin. He successfully engaged in cinema, producing different movies. Egor said on behalf of an international Corporation is currently involved in a large project on the theme “world in quarantine”. My friend is responsible for the Russian part. He said that the project is charitable, no budget for it no royalties no one gets, all done exclusively on a voluntary basis.

And was dictated by his call, that’s what. Egor asked him whether to go with an operator in the “red zone” when they are filming in the hospital where coronavirus? I wondered what to answer. After all, this is a difficult question. Go into the “red zone”, so unwittingly put themselves at risk of infection – this time. To go there, so then a month to be in quarantine, that is, separated with a young son and a young wife – that’s two. Like the producer don’t have to go, the cameraman and the Director can handle it. But the producer is the person who is responsible for the final result, and for those who work…

Again, the problem of choice. This problem every day confronts every one of us. I remembered his risky trip. For example, in Afghanistan during the war and after – in search of the prisoners. Or in Japan, when there came the devastating earthquake and covered the nuclear power plant Fukushima. Or his last year’s visit to Kosovo (our “diplomats” claimed that upon arrival I would be thrown in jail or shot). So many things happened in my life. And have always faced the problem of choice. To go or not to go? To go or not go?

There are counselors there. Each must decide for himself. It is always a personal choice. And to ask the Council, therefore, to shift the responsibility to others.

I told my young friend. I was convinced that he will make the right decision, doing the right thing.

Below you will read the record Egor Solomatin, made impressions of his work in the “red zone”. He decided to go. ‘ve made your choice.

…And actually, more correctly, this story began fifteen years ago. I was friends with his grandfather – a prominent Soviet intelligence officer General Boris Aleksandrovich Solomatin. The General was the boy and his father, and grandfather. He was seriously ill, had a premonition of his imminent departure. One day when we were alone, said to me: “Only one concern: what will be Yegor in this life? Handle it? Don’t get lost?” Grandson had just graduated from high school.

I don’t get lost. When you read “notes from the “red zone”, then see for yourself.

Vladimir Snegirev

let right: I’m not a journalist. However, my profession requires active participation in the world of art, the disclosure of people’s characters on the screen, displaying their pain and survivedrepresentations. My profession is producing films and documentaries for wide screen.

for the past month we participate in a documentary project about a pandemic coronavirus. The best filmmakers from 30 countries have come together to show a timeline of events in the places where they live and work. The task of the film – to show how people get sick, get well, die, lose jobs, go crazy and gain a new sense of life.

Our small film crew visited a variety of locations: nursing homes, hostels, migrants, closed restaurants and hotels, even bdsm clubs. We wonder what was the impact of the virus on ordinary people, directly and indirectly. Someone was trapped without means of livelihood, and someone has suddenly improved its financial position, and crucially, having to be reconstructed in a new “digitalnih” realities.

the First idea that emerged – display empty streets, once the diversity of the flow of urban residents. The empty metro. Extinct urban landscape. As the shooting became clear that not enough strong intensity, the point of the struggle, the confrontation of life and death. Such material can only be obtained where people live. This “red zone” hospitals.

Not once did you have any luck with the clinic: not everyone is happy to see the crew in the moment when you’re busy, without small, saving lives. But it turned out that some hospitals are willing to allow themselves to documentary, to show the life of its employees. So we ended up in the intensive care unit of a major Moscow hospital. Work 24/7, always busy in the bed, continuing the work of intensive care specialists, pulmonologists and physicians of all other offices, the mode of life according to the laws of “military” time. At the appointed hour, we arrived in complete silence, expecting to see something beyond human sense.

We quietly came in through the emergency Department and after 20 minutes, passing several checkpoints and measurements of temperature, was inside the “red zone”. “Red zone” – is this an isolated case of the hospital building with a separate reception of patients arriving by carriages “ambulance” by OMC. Depending on the severity of the patients are sent either to the hospital or to the intensive care unit. The entire second floor is the intensive care unit. The hospital occupies 6th and 7th floors. The last floor is designed for relaxation doctors (without leaving the “red zone”).

Before you go to the gateway that separates the green zone from the red, I briefly hesitated. I was scared: what if I’ll never get out of here? Suddenly I will remain here, just on the other side of these invisible barricades? Thinking for a moment, I pushed the door of the gateway disinfection toward the two orderlies.

First found myself in the spacious lobby. Everywhere polumer��to ominous silence. There is the usual revival and the sounds of hospital life. In this case, all is quiet. The walls and floor wet and sticky from the constant disinfection. The lifters in costumes and masks, like a prison in another dimension, baravat me. Only the eyes visible. From this I’m totally not myself. All the people around you – impersonal. They certainly know how to work together not first day. For me it is a shock otherwise. Feel like a shadow in a dilapidated castle. Pushing a cart with equipment and walk into the Elevator. Our entire group is silent, afraid to once again violate unknown rules of local etiquette. I don’t want to open his mouth to avoid inhaling the excessive portion of the air. The feeling is that every breath brings you closer to the inevitable climax.

the Elevator stops and we exit on the first floor of the intensive care unit. A total of five chambers, each about six “heavy”. Patients in intensive care – a separate caste. I run my eyes on each bed: mostly are those who are much over 60. But there are young. Chamber large, spacious, doesn’t make it easy neither patients nor doctors. I’m sad to see sweet pastoral sleeping areas, highly visible through the giant Windows behind the beds. The patient would never see her again, because it is the Windows back.

Between patients separated by screens, but since the beds are arranged in the chamber at the shape of P, then those few patients who are in consciousness, becomes a witness of the sufferings of others. And that suffering, though varied, but in essence exactly the same. Approach to the seriously ill patient of the 70s, which he also had a tracheostomy. I see that her eyes are closed, but his hands convulsively grip the handrails of his bed. Turning to the other bed and hear the heavy breathing of the man who is in the borderline of consciousness and unconsciousness. The following chamber. A large man groaning in pain: in addition to the ventilator, he is still on dialysis (there are).

Join the morning rounds. I catch myself puzzled and even angry attitudes of doctors. Who is he? What’s he doing here? The doctors and medical staff your stickers display on the costumes (DOCTOR, SISTER, NURSE). I have just a name written with a marker – EGOR. All at once it becomes clear that I am not a legitimate citizen of this Universe. Explain the reason for your stay to Department head and ask to allow them to film one day in the life of a doctor in the intensive care unit. In response to receiving strict orders: “It’s a team effort. To allocate someone separately – incorrect in relation to others.”

Standing there, you recall the front-line prose classics that give you that feeling: to be at the forefront. Doctors today have experienced nightmares of wartime. This shift work without sleep and rest, and the lack of family nearby and the risk every minute and hourly. Now, when the medical staff reached a certain temp, the functioning of the entire hospital was like one big sleepless anthill.

About 6: 30 am we boarded the hospital bus. Someone is trying to Dospat, someone speaks with family by phone. Transport to doctors and nursing staff arrives to the main entrance. I go along with the flow of people. Despite the early rise, it’s pretty friendly between them. Change doctors, and nurses in the same room regardless of gender, but it does not bother anyone and does not irritate. Quietly issued I wear scrubs (pants and jacket), smenku and go into the next room. This long corridor is the main transport corridor between “red” and “green areas”. Here and offices with personal protective equipment, and a toilet, and a few cafes. Watching the doctors, noting the time of exit from the zone, wearily walk along the tiled corridor, coming to himself. There are a lot of people all talk to each other. Something like University: a lot of young residents, adults, experienced doctors, nurses average age.

the café food is tasty. Food provide a variety of funds here and hot with salads, and snacks, and a variety of sweets. Before the change the compassionate aunt in a Bathrobe, pours us coffee, unwraps a candy and a box of chocolates. I catch myself curious glances of a group of nurses from the next table, but that’s not a look of rejection. Just interesting to look at who’s next: he’s already there, or still go?

In the rooms with the PPE the nurses help to dress the antiplague suits, Shoe covers, pick up the mask and process it so that that didn’t fog up all six hours of the shift. You can select a costume of white or pink color. The mask is the biggest problem. Most of the doctors and Department heads wear their own glasses. To change, touch its face, to fix anything after we went into the “red zone”, is strictly prohibited. Therefore, the most pressing issue all working hours is a matter of view and review. There are 101 ways of how to treat his mask: it is antiseptic, and soap, and fog fluid. In the course are any options checked and not. Our operator particularly warmly thanks the doctors for suggested tips. I treat ski goggles with antiseptic and then wipe off. Tested: works.

from inside the “red zone”, you inevitably find yourself under the oppression of the situation. An integral and think of death. She’s always there for you. This is similar all around, the faceless hazmat suits, red crosses-lights, the constant work of nurses-disinfectors. Danger surrounds you. Through tears and pain patients via mask respirators physicians, through large warning labels, “STOP! RED ZONE”. They seem to alienate you from the other world.

In the air particles of the alarm. You’re constantly know that you’re on the same side, and they on the other. Why it happened and why? What is the algorithm of choice? There is no answer to this question. The disease equally affects young and old, rich and poor.

In turn I go to each house and ask similar questions: how did you get sick? How fast was sick? Where you got the virus, do you think? And every time I hear the same simple responses:

“To the supermarket I went for food. Always all was well, and then – once, and the disease in two days mowed”.

“the son went to visit the subway, a cough at the moment have prevailed.”

among the sick and those who hardly left the house for a few weeks, but nonetheless got an infection. Why is this happening, no one can answer. It might be a weakened immune system (which indirectly confirms the age cut patients ‘ intensive care: 55-75 years), and perhaps it is in the selectivity of fate.

in Spite of that, the doctors even partly happy about this mode. In the Smoking room of the hospital, which in normal times is just not there, I have heard that nurses and doctors do not want to go on the old planning regime. Despite the absurdity of the situation, all used to such intensity. He allowed to test themselves and their social networks to the test. Probably, it is the opposite of the Stockholm syndrome, when, having experienced a strong shock, gradually you get used to this and even experiencing the adrenaline in need. The determining factor of life in this mode, the hospital staff calls the strong cohesion support each other. Before the pandemic, some employees didn’t even know each other, which is normal for large structures. Now everyone will know their colleagues in person, asking about families, Affairs, and mood.

Apart from the fact that you work side by side, and you live together with your colleagues. At the time of work is given an accommodation, to eliminate the risk of transmitting the virus to their household. My companion is a nurse confessed that he had not seen his two children for 1.5 months. Husband is an anesthesiologist and works at the same position in another hospital. Children interact with the mother only through mobile phone. By the way, the phone staff are rare. I was warned that all of our equipment will pour special disinfectant, therefore, not all risk their gadgets.

Option for us made classic food film, which we had wrapped the camera, optics and phone. Shaking his wrap anything, you can then disinfect the surface and exit in the “zelenou zone” the tape to tear and throw. The doctors in the “red zone” have access to their work places and access to the Internet, however, make anything and make possible only under condition of full observance of disinfection regime.

I Go to house No. 924, where I was kindly sent a nurse. Go, they say, is Margarita Petrovna talk. She’s a legend. A month in the intensive care unit spent on a ventilator and survived. It is truly a miracle. After such a long period of stay on a ventilator usually people don’t come back. But Margarita Petrovna survived against all odds.

She is from Tatarstan, 57 years old. Retired and, realizing that home no money, went to Moscow to work six years ago. Got a job as a cleaner in the workers ‘ hostel. Started to work, so much so that he paid the mortgage of his eldest daughter, helped the younger and raised several grandchildren remotely. Not sick, says never. And in the workers ‘ hostel past it took hundreds of people of different nationalities: Indians, Vietnamese, and natives of Central Asia. At one point he felt bad. Two days podtashnivalo, and then a virus knocked off his feet. Lungs refused to function. Brought CHI to the hospital and underwent emergency tracheostomy. After nearly 30 days of strength had gradually returned to Margarita Petrovna, the level of oxygen in the blood increased. But the oxygen mask is still holding near the face, like many other patients. Ask: was fed through a tube? No, she swallowed food from the beginning of hospitalization. I already looking at other patients in the intensive care unit, repeatedly said: he who eats from that as if on the face is inscribed – will survive. Who through the tube the food goes, those of less chance. Margarita Petrovna hot thanks the doctors who breathed into it the strength to fight for life. I watched as kindly communicate sisters and always with humor. Always encouraged, never left unattended, regardless of whose change. And it is not so important, because being in the “red zone”, you’ll never know your doctor. All persons covered by masks. Only the eyes visible. Around you is a kaleidoscope of faceless heroes who routinely do their job. Maybe I would like to thank someone personally, but only certain. You are surrounded by the collective good labored with tired eyes.

the operator sets the camera to a new position, talk to one of zavotdelenij:

– What is the movie you have?

– About the heroism of doctors during a pandemic. Difficult conditions, uncertainty, when it’s the end of the pandemic, etc.

– Feat… where were you before? Why only now came in? Why not have made a routine doctor’s “ambulance”, who was bitten by a patient with hepatitis, resulting in infected whole family of this doctor? Where was your camera when a couple of months ago trauma ogle��sewn the patient with a gunshot wound and escaped from the hospital? I deeply appreciate the interest and attention to our work, but why only now? Moreover, I am sure that after all this hype people will again begin to treat us like a SERVICE, only requiring attention and relationship. Know what the most common question from relatives of a deceased patient with a complicated medical history? Not why he died, and some of the doctors fault. There’s a difference?

“Significant”, I think, staring at the floor.

the biggest impression on me was made by not some specific event, and the full cycle of death. Still in intensive care I began to watch a large old woman. She was difficult to fight, but she was struggling. Stepping into her room, every time I mentioned her condition, worried about her. One day in intensive care she died. I hoped that she felt better and, perhaps, she was transferred upstairs to the hospital. The day was scheduled to shoot in the morgue. Part of our work involves Analytics, communication with pathologists, discuss the reasons for the development of the virus, etc. On the metal table cold, lifeless body lay the woman. Yesterday she clung to life, and from her body came out every spirit. Death from the coronavirus was real.

By the way, about our crew. We all work for free and mutual understanding between doctors and group members were established from the first minute. All these days between us and the hospital staff is a real novel: we carefully follow on the heels of the doctors from house to house, trying not to interfere, then remove them, noisy and cheerful, in the corridors of the green zone. Noisy and fun, you ask? How can you be cheerful at such a difficult time? As in war, as soldiers at the front finds time for jokes.

Many had been in “hot spots,” you know, how often is an attempt to take stress and fear, laughter through tears. In order to maintain sobriety of mind, you often have to be able to laugh and sneer at any, even the most acute situation.

it is hoped that all our efforts will be adequately perceived by the audience.

Solomatin Egor Alexandrovich (born. October 29, 1987, Moscow) – Russian producer of feature and documentary films. A graduate of international law faculty of MGIMO. General producer of the production Daddy’s Film. Married, has a son.