LIFE IN A DAY (12A): On General Release Friday 17th June
As the credits roll at the conclusion of Kevin MacDonald’s undeniably affecting Life In A Day we watch a snail slowly consuming a scrap of paper with the words ‘mind your own business’ written on it. This not so subtle metaphor aptly describes the ideology behind what is arguably MacDonald’s masterpiece.
The concept behind Life In A Day is contribution, the contribution of 4,500 hours of footage from 80,000 filmmakers living in 192 different countries, all taken on 24 July 2010. Think of it as film 2.0; mass user participation is used to create something far more monumental than any individual could accomplish alone. It’s a concept that pays off, and its entire ethos is that of togetherness: we are not alone; we’re all the same underneath; everyone has fears, hopes, dreams, eyelashes etc.
Although in some parts the film pushes the message too and basically bludgeons its viewers with sentiment, for the most it’s a thoroughly moving insight into what it means to be a person living in 2010. From tribes’ people to tramps, from high-flying execs to freerunning Russians, we’re taken through a thorough scope of lifestyles and cultures.
Of course, without cohesion Life In A Day would just be a meaningless series of clips, providing limited viewer engagement, so to give the film some structure three questions were posed to each budding filmmaker: What do you love? What do you fear? What’s in your pocket? These questions are interspersed throughout the film and always asked by the same hipster couple, who are so pretentious they make Nathan Barley look like Jon Snow.
It’s not all sunshine and stardust though, there are some truly disturbing sequences woven into the otherwise overly idealistic series of shorts. The Love Parade’s transition from a blissful summer festival into a horrifying scene of death and destruction is particularly powerful.
Overall, Editor Joe Walker and director Kevin MacDonald have carried off a gargantuan feat of filmmaking, one which could not have been achieved as little as three years ago. Life In A Day sets out to enthral, entertain, and enlighten; it accomplishes all three.