Life in a Day Kevin MacDonald

Life in a Day Kevin MacDonald
Ever wonder what someone else in another part of the world is doing at this exact moment? Separated by continents and cultures, would their daily routines be remotely familiar? They're questions executive producers Ridley and Tony Scott hoped to answer with cinematic time capsule Life in a Day. "We asked people around the world to film their lives and answer a few simple questions," a short introduction to the documentary tells us. Sending cameras to countries where equipment is hard to come by and collecting memory cards from remote corners of the world, a team of researchers and filmmakers, led by The Last King of Scotland director Kevin Macdonald, took to YouTube to ask regular people to film their lives on July 24, 2010. The resulting 80,000 video clips (approximately 4,500 hours of footage) from 192 countries were carefully compiled and edited to make this 90-minute documentary. Life in a Day follows the lives of others, from dawn to dusk, necessarily noting both the minute and the milestones. From the hours of footage sent in by ordinary people, filmmakers illuminate the universality of habits as unassuming as collecting newspapers from stoops or feet touching bedroom floors for the first time in the morning. While there are no main characters, per se, some compelling stories reappear throughout the documentary: a Korean man explains that he's been biking around the world for nine years, while an American family teaches its youngest member how to act around his cancer-afflicted mother. Elsewhere, in South America, a young boy of about seven years old shines shoes to support his family, while a man in Afghanistan shows us a sports club where young girls practice martial arts. Included in the DVD's special features are deleted scenes and a "Making Of" featurette of YouTube-friendly interviews with Macdonald and the film's editors, who provide insights into the Herculean task of cutting down 4,500 hours of footage and coordinating the transportation of equipment around the world. Through the "Making Of," it's clear that the how-to of compiling the footage may be as awe-inspiring as its content. Despite the number of segments squeezed into Life in a Day, it rarely feels like a mere chronicle or items you'd pluck from a time capsule. Though some of the commentaries on our relationships with food, love and illness feel forced, and are exactly the kinds of things you'd expect in such a film, there's still value in reinforcing the similarities between us, geography notwithstanding. Keeping the bigger picture in mind — the opportunity for voices around the world to tell stories on their terms — Life in a Day is a marvel in filmmaking. (Mongrel Media)