MFR Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★
If you look beyond all the pixelated rubbish then there’s certainly something remarkable about Youtube. Film shot around the world, that can be uploaded by anyone and stored in one single location to capture anything of occurrence. Shot on the single day of July 24th 2010, Life in a Day utilizes the internet and the talent of amateur directors to their full capacity. The film captures 4,500 hours of film submitted by ordinary people worldwide, producing this little 95 minute snapshot of just what it means to be alive.
Produced by Ridley and Tony Scott and directed by Kevin MacDonald, Life in a Day‘s strength lies in the natural freedom of its creation. Of course, many videos need to be recorded by specialist crews so that the film doesn’t comprise solely of the internet-accessible world, but the film’s themes flow so naturally due to some inspired editing. People are asked to answer simple questions such as ‘what do you love?’ and ‘what do you fear’ but this never feels stilted or false, but remarkably fluid. There might be meanings created that weren’t there in the original footage (such as shots of people living in poverty back to back with a man showing off his fancy car) but that allows each viewer to have their own relationship with the film, to choose to accept each video as an individual piece or to look at how they can be related. It’s this fluidity that gives the film its own life.
There’s certainly a lot to ‘feel good’ about, but the film mixes this with darker moments, which create a full range of emotion in short bursts. At one point the film intersperses its scenes with cuts of a roller-coaster. Such imagery may be somewhat clichéd but you can’t help feel it captures the film’s tone and message remarkably succinctly. The film contains near-constant, string music which reinforces the film’s emotional impact, although a few more silent moments may have helped the footage stand on its own feet.
Most importantly, Life in a Day feels extraordinarily poignant from what was remarkably a simple idea. Although Americans are naturally disproportionally featured, it’s very much an international film, rich with cultural depth. There’s so much to make each viewer laugh, smile and be moved. Everyone will probably have their own relationship with the footage and different moments will stick out to different people, but most importantly, Life in a Day shows how coherent filmaking can be found amidst the disjointedness of modern life.
Life in a Day is out on 17 June in the UK . Running time: 95 mins. Certificate 12A (UK).
Review By David Rank