On the 24th of July 2010, more than 80, 000 people filmed their lives for a day. Ridley Scott and Kevin McDonald then spent the next year composing this film. The participants filmed life, as they know it. The participants also answered a few questions such as ‘what scares you?’ and ‘what do you keep in your pockets?’
Life in a day not only visits suburban America, but invites the viewer to a fly on the wall look at the lives of those in third world communities. Scott and Mc Donald play with the age-old idea of walking a mile in somebody else’s shoes. If you ever wished you could be someone else, this piece could prove fascinating. Among the memorable faces are a father and little boy who mourn their mother in a chaotic apartment in Asia and the lonely wife of a soldier in Iraq.
A few sequences remind us we are all the same at the core, such as the early morning scene at the start; globally everyone making breakfast and going to the toilet with puffy eyes. There are also stories that will prove individuality exists within us all or even those that provoke deep empathy at times. Viewer beware- there is a rather striking scene in which a worker at an abattoir shows us what it is really like to kill livestock.
As with all National Geographic documentaries ‘Life in a day’ is visually stunning. However, the directors decision to keep the overall tone light can make it feel a little manic as it slips quickly from a sad, to fast-paced happy tale. Editing 80,000 submissions must no doubt have been a daunting task, but this film could have done more at times; the polishing can give it an over-sentimental Kodak commercial feeling.
Life in a day redeems itself with its genuine truth; it appeals more to curiosity more than it plays on voyeurism. We are not just watching people; we are trying to understand them. The various clips give an insight into people’s lives and minds, but the viewer is then allowed form their own opinions.
Life in a day is a worthwhile watch for everyone, even the cynical people of the world.