Thursday 27 October 2011

Today's Review: Life In A Day

Life In A Day is a very interesting idea. On July 24th, 2010, people filmed themselves going about their lives and answering a few questions, and uploaded the result to YouTube. Out of the 4,500 hours of footage gathered from that day, Life In A Day was created, a 90 minute documentary, filmed by who knows how many people.

The approach taken to this movie was pretty well thought out as well. While most of the footage is taken from YouTube users with their own video cameras, equipment was also sent out to various places in the developing world in order to get a glimpse of life in cultures all across the globe. Life In A Day actually plays out over the day as well, starting out with people waking up, carrying on through mealtimes, and ending near the stroke of midnight.

On the way various themes are covered. There are the questions posed to users in the challenge specification, such as "What's in your pocket?" and "What do you love?", but there were obviously many themes picked out from the footage itself, so we are treated to montages of people eating, drumming, and even sitting on the john. Lovely.

The whole movie is pretty much a peaceful, light hearted affair. There are a few occasions where people are talking to the camera, and obviously these have been picked for their emotional impact, and indeed I did well up during a couple of these scenes. A large amount of footage, however, is just of people going about their lives in different places around the world. Just getting a little glimpse into everyday actions, and occasionally the extraordinary, is something you never really see on film. Normally a documentary film has some kind of agenda, but in the same vein as the movie Babies from last year, we just see what people were doing on a certain day.

You might think that the agenda of Life In A Day is just to raise your spirits about humanity and simply portray happy, upbeat footage. I was pleased to see, however, that some less than happy clips were spliced in, with some ill people talking about their ordeals, but especially in the form of a darker montage towards the end. It reminds us that though there is lots of good in the world, all is clearly not well.

Life In A Day was an ambitious project, and it was really pulled together well. While clips are short and swiftly cut, I didn't want to stop watching. The need to focus on each clip before it's gone really drags you into the experience, and the wide variety of footage portrayed is both interesting and emotional. It's simply a great piece of film making, and well worth a watch.

My rating: 5/5

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