‘Life in a Day’ is a winning portrait of humanity’s collective experience
Edited by Joe Walker
On July 24th 2010, over 80,000 people from all corners of the world submitted footage of their day to contribute toward an epic and unique documentary / film. Editor Joe Walker and his associates then had the incredibly unenviable task of wading through over 4.500 hours of material and trying to craft it into something not only watchable but worthy of the movie’s concept – to create the first ever honest worldwide time capsule of a single day on Earth.
That not only do they succeed but do so in such exemplary fashion is a minor miracle and a true triumph for the versatility of cinema.
From births to deaths, proposals to acrobatics, the impoverished to the wealthy, the tender to the wildly insane, all the way through to the sincere and intensely powerful final scene of admittance – Life in a Day is a truly remarkable feat and such a bewildering and dizzying experience that it will not only linger with you for days but may in all likeliness affect you in a way that no other film or documentary has before.
I left the theatre feeling bedazzled and desperately grasping at the wonderful moments and characters that had whisked by in such an emotional flurry during the film’s brief 90 minutes. Moreover, I suddenly felt acutely aware of those around me and gently flooded with a warm appreciation for the individual lives that I was dotted among, treasuring the re-assurance that we are all connected and we are all in this together.
Cheesy, perhaps, but such is the impact of this film if you’re sensible enough to let it. For what more could you ask for from a medium than it helps you to appreciate your fellow man? Even just by a tiny increment?
Beyond the deeper effects Life in a Day may or may not have on you, it’s a wonderfully charming and entertaining film. Perforated with humour, surrealism and sudden jolts of brutality (the cow scene will linger for quite some time no matter how often you’ve seen it before) – it’s all perfectly placed and completely involving, whether you’re sharing a full story with one of the submitters or merely a second’s glimpse into their daily life. A special mention is also deserved for Matthew Herbert and Harry-Gregson-Williams for crafting a startling score and multi-variation theme song, which truly succeeds as the undercurrent and unified soul of the movie.
By its very nature it’s easy to argue that Life in a Day is the most important film ever made, which makes it either impossible or incredibly easy to dissect. The simple fact is that as a part of this messy, tragic, beautiful, fragile and passionate planet you owe it to yourself to gain some perspective by watching this startling picture. It really honestly might just change your life. And if that seems a little hyberbolic or cringe-worthy to you, then you owe it to yourself even more.