By Helen Cowley from LOVEFiLM
This moving documentary formed of thousands of hours of YouTube footage, all filmed on the same day, makes for compelling viewing.
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The meaning of lifeBy Turino (40 reviews) from Bracknell , 12 Jun 2011
[Highly rated reviewer]Synopsis: A day in the life of the planet Earth and the human race; this is the 24th of July, 2010 as recorded by anyone with a video camera.
Democracy. Power to the people. Digital technology. Video cameras, the internet, editing software and music. Life in a Day is a unique, ambitious experiment. And boy does it work! A call went out from director Kevin Macdonald (Touching the Void, The Last King of Scotland) and executive producer Ridley Scott to the YouTube community. Capture your life in a day. Anyone with a video camera and access to the internet could enter and submit a video of what was happening in their life on the 24th July 2010. Cameras were even sent out to far-flung places to allow people who do not have access to these filmmaking tools to contribute to the film. So is this a documentary, an experimental film or a social action media production? Well its all three and more. Its also a narrativised piece of thrilling, enjoyable and inspirational cinema that will leave audiences crying, smiling and feeling blessed for their own lives and loved ones.
The narrative is not forced; the film begins in the early hours of the morning and takes the audience through the day to midnight. Characters occasionally reappear throughout the day and others come and go in the blink of an eye. The ordinary, everyday lives of the people of the planet are given an epic quality by the capturing of the full moon and many time lapse shots of changing landscapes and in one brief sequence the beauty of the northern lights. People rise early; people have stayed up all night drinking and one man howls and barks at the moon. The film then has many montages, people taking a morning leak, eating breakfast, taking their first steps out of bed in the morning. The soundtrack adds to the feel of the ordinary becoming extraordinary and the editing emphasizes the universal ways that people go about their days. It might sound boring but its not. The pace is swift with moments of humour, sadness and plentiful details that will strike a chord with many an audience member.
People play themselves and I say play themselves because there are moments when the camera set ups draw attention to the constructedness of the scenarios. For example the montage of people waking up in the morning is rather let down by the people who have clearly set up the camera on the tripod and then pretended to wake up in front of it. Much more real feeling are the moments of people filming their partners as they sleep and capturing true moments of awakening. There is also a notable emphasis on children which seems to tie in to a major theme of the film. Children are filmed by their parents (from sonograms to babies to a young mans first shave) and in fact this is one of the first moments of the film when it settles on a character for more than a brief moment. The pride and love these parents feel shines through with the following of their children and cannot fail to put a smile on your face.
The task of editing 4500 hours down to just over 90 minutes must have been a monumental task and its a wonder that the film has been released in just under a year from the date that all the filming was done and uploaded. The editor, Joe Walker and the researchers must have sifted through countless hours of crap and should be applauded for their selections and for managing to also keep the film to a concise 90 minutes. I imagine there are also numerous moments that were fought over and eventually ended up unceremoniously dumped on the cutting room floor.
Life in a Day is thought-provoking and life-affirming. Though no message is forced down the audiences throat, there are many ideas presented here that should be thought about and discussed for hours after watching. The global origins of the footage, the various languages spoken, the colours, sounds and sights of people of varying cultures brought together in one film emphasizes the similarities between the people of the planet. The footage of rituals, customs, and celebrations from around the world show that love and loss are universal, that family is universally important to all cultures. Juxtaposing an Afghan photographer with an American soldiers partner or a grinning Lamborghini owner with a shoe shining child suggests a political agenda but again, no message is forced. The viewer decides what to make of what they are seeing. There are some horrific moments; the tragic outcome of the German Love Parade, the killing of a cow, but these are contextualized in a positive film that does not dwell on the sadness of life but focuses more on the joy.
At just over 90 minutes the film does not outstay its welcome and I dare to suggest that a sequel would be worthwhile in a few years time. Life in a Day is a time capsule and a treasure trove of the ordinary. Through skilful editing, beautiful and emotive music and the desire for the people of this planet to share themselves honestly and openly with others, Life in a Day becomes more than a film, more than a documentary and more than an experiment. The ordinary becomes extraordinary and the film becomes a gift, a statement and a powerful dedication to love, family and unity. Watch it and embrace it.
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Great idea, poor result.By vteclimey (16 reviews) from Hampshire , 05 Dec 2012When I first heard about this film project I though it sounded like a great idea and eagerly looked forward to seeing it. Sadly it just doesn't live up to the hype. The constantly changing source quality and aspect gets tedious very quickly and the clips are not knitted together in a cohesive way. The result looks like a bunch of random and uninteresting YouTube videos. How disappointing!
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Give it a try.By TRuOC (9 reviews) from Bromsgrove , 05 Nov 2012Despite the bad reviews I actually thought that this was an entertaining, moving, and at time hilarious piece of film.
All human life is hereBy Exitpursuedbyabear (19 reviews) , 30 Aug 2012What a lucky find this was. Completely unexpected and totally wonderful. I could watch it again and again.
Its all here: days that will be remembered forever, days that will be immediately forgotten, days like no other, days like every other day, songs, work, shoes, love, hate, apples, hats, getting up, going out, coming out, staying in, fights, kisses, flames, people who have everything, people who have nothing, a proposal, an acceptance, a rejection, clouds, sunshine, plants, animals, keys, cars, pianos, white faces, black faces, yellow faces, painted faces, children, old people, odd people, normal people, hopes, fears, a church, a mosque, a synagogue, a bicycle, mountains, fields, pockets,war, peace, goats, living, dying, fighting, surviving...
A wonderful panorama of human existence on this wonderful blue and green planet that we call home. It made me smile, laugh out loud and get a lump in my throat. I loved it.
Loved it but...By a customer , 08 Aug 2012Moving, funny, entertaining, wonderful film, beautifully filmed and produced. Personally I preferred Britain in a Day as it wasn't quite such a big project to undertake and had more stories to follow while Life in a Day jumped around more. However I would highly recommend it as it is a great film.
emotionally affectingBy NickVys (2 reviews) , 26 Jul 2012One of the most emotionally affecting films I've seen in a while, across pretty much the range of human emotions. At times it made me angry, other times uplifting, other times had me on the verge of tears (which doesn't happen that often). OK there's not really a plot as such, but things keep moving on fast enough that there's no time to get bored - definitely one to watch.