Life in a Day Movie Review
YouTube in 192 countries users shot their videos on 24 July 2010, and filmmaker Macdonald arranges it as a day in the life. It starts at midnight as we see night owls, early risers, breakfast routines and then food gathering and preparation, travel, sundown and sleep. Along the way, the participants are asked what's in their pockets, what they love the most and what they're afraid of.
It's a fascinating project, and the submissions show a huge level of creativity, not to mention some astonishingly gifted camerawork. The clips flow naturally into each other, and part of the thrill of watching it is seeing what comes next, as well as trying to figure out where in the world we are now. A few people get extended segments, while others return to the screen repeatedly as the film progresses. Overall, the work has an interesting shape and tone, carrying us through a range of emotions.
Although this also is one of the problems: Harry Gregson-Williams' insistent musical underscore tells us what to think and feel, sometimes changing the tone of the images to match whatever we're watching (such as intercutting screaming rollercoaster riders into the gloomy montage of riots and crime). And some things are oddly missing, such as scenes of grief or death and any hint of sexuality. Surely these are two rather important aspects of human life.
There's also only one event (the Love Parade tragedy) that places this film into context on this particular day. Everything else is fairly generic, with births, engagements and marriages (including an Elvis chapel in Vegas). The most memorable segments are father-son pieces from Japan and Britain. And the only multi-cultural images are in the shots of a Korean bicyclist in Kathmandu (Okhwan Yoon has been riding around the world for 10 years). Watching all of this is exhilarating, funny, scary, romantic and sometimes very emotional. It's thoroughly involving, and yet we can't help but wish it was a little more earthy and real.