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  Life in a Day As The World Turns
Year: 2011
Director: Kevin MacDonald
Stars: Various
Genre: DocumentaryBuy from Amazon
Rating:  8 (from 2 votes)
Review: YouTube, as you may know, is a website where users can upload video clips of whatever they like (within reason), but there are now countless examples of such footage on there, so how can you sift through them all to come up with a satisfying experience? Director Kevin MacDonald had that task to engage with when he was entrusted to ask for people all over Planet Earth to send him parts of their lives which they had filmed, all to be edited together into ninety minutes or so of movie. He received four thousand, five hundred hours of clips, and Life in a Day was the result.

You know how in many movies they will implement the time-honoured montage to denote the passing of time while offering information about where the plot is heading and what the characters are up to over the space of hours, or even days? Think of Life in a Day as a montage for the world and you would be some way to getting the idea about what it was like to watch; obviously they could not include the experience of every human being on the globe, close to seven billion on the 24th of July 2010 when this was shot, but at least you could view this and say, okay, I get the idea, this is what it's like.

The results, flitting from one story to another, some lasting mere seconds and others returned to over the course of the running time, would either infuriate those wanting to delve deeper, or fascinate others wishing for the bigger picture to become clearer. From every continent, at all hours of that day, in many languages, there was a story of sorts built up, even if it was a patchwork rather than a complete narrative, and if you were willing to give it a chance, MacDonald's efforts here, in conjuction with Ridley Scott and Tony Scott who executive produced, managed to observe the surface of those participants' lives and glean some deeper meaning from their assembly.

It could be that you would take from this nothing more than vague "Hey - we're all in this together!" platitudes, but the skill here was to make that kind of inclusiveness the point, rendering anything from the apparently mundane to the traumatic to the hilarious to the elating as somehow relevant to the viewer rather than simply a collection of home movies strung together without rhyme or reason. They were asked questions such as "What's in your pocket?", "What do you love?" and "What do you fear?" answered as a way of connecting with the audience, but while some insight was gained, just as much could be perceived from people wandering around their day, eating, working, playing, being born, even dying.

With such a plethora of clips, of moments in existence, there would be some parts which stood out more than others, but the interesting thing would be that they would be different depending on what you brought to to the film, so some would be enchanted by the Korean cyclist who is riding around the world, others would be distressed by the Love Parade tragedy which claimed many lives, still more would like the chap who visits his father after a long time away at university and work only to find comedy in the fact his dad has a piece of paper stuck to his shoe for practically the whole time but didn't notice until he said goodbye. If you wanted to laugh, there was humour (the wedding vows of the elderly couple), if crying was your thing there was sadness here (the woman dressing up to talk to her soldier husband thousands of miles away over the internet), and if you only wanted to sit back and wonder, there was opportunity for that too. Life in a Day had a way of making you feel important, and everyone else as well. Music by Harry Gregson-Williams and Matthew Herbert.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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