The ‘others’ credited above as directors alongside Kevin Macdonald are the hundreds of people around the globe who shot footage on July 24 2010 which was used by the makers of this documentary collage initiated, appropriately enough, by YouTube. It’s a patchwork of experiences, from the banal (going to the toilet, eating and sleeping) to the extreme (giving birth by caesarean section, slaughtering a cow, jumping out of a plane), edited to suggest the chronology of a day, from dawn to dusk. There are no place names, but we travel from America to Asia, Europe to Africa, rainforest to ice cap. As on YouTube, the quality ranges from the scrappy to the polished. It’s both superficial and insightful, inevitably shallow but also surprisingly probing. Of course, despite the kindness of the credit, it’s Macdonald’s eye which gives the work its shape. The film’s conclusions – we’re the same but different, the banal and the extraordinary are equally valid – are not revelatory, but ‘Life in a Day’ has an intoxicating and sometimes even overwhelming rhythm and power, helped no end by Matthew Herbert’s inventive score.
Friday June 17 2011