Directed by Kevin McDonald (2011) of
Touching the Void fame, Life in a
Day is an inspirational documentary about the stories and emotions of
everyday people from around the world. Produced by Ridley and his
brother Tony Scott, with the brilliant direction of McDonald, they asked
people around the world to film their lives and answer a few questions
in order to create a snapshot of the planet on the 24th of July 2010.
The results were outstanding. They received 4,500 hours of video from
over 190 countries around the world which has been painstakingly edited
to give us what is found on this DVD... a kaleidoscopic look of human
life and existence. From the very first moments of this film, you
immediately get drawn into this colourful world of emotions and more
importantly, how these individuals, families, friends and strangers see
the world from their point of view and more importantly, their own sense
of being which is quite existentialist when all linked.
From a woman who hears voices during the "Witching Hour", to a father
and son who remembers their wife and mother by engaging in a daily
ritual, Life in a Day is actually quite emotional at times. Certain
scenes made me quite teary at times like the Australian man who just had
a triple bypass, however other moments are quite uplifting and at times
funny. The DVD also
showcases the sights and sounds of the Earth as well from its landscapes
to its wondrous animals.
Apart from the emotional rollercoaster in this film,
there is some remarkable cinematography as well, however the more
powerful and raw footage is generally from those with more accessible
technologies such as mobile phones. This gives their story a more
humanistic touch and I must admit that I wasnít really expected to be
drawn into this film. The premise did sound interesting and I was
optimistic at how they could succeed but somehow McDonald created a true
work of art.
Video/Audio & Special Features
In relation to the video, Life in a Day ranges from excellent to poor,
however through the editing process, the transition from poor to good
works well and itís like some rich tapestry slowly unfolding
with all its flaws. Given the content of the film, the video quality
definitely does take a backseat, so don't expect to be blown away...
although there are a few moments where this does happen and you think
wow. Like the video, audio varies diversely and the only aspect of Dolby
Digital 5.1 that is used is the musical score of Matthew Herbert who
uses the sounds sampled from the various submissions to create a very
emotional piece plus an orchestral backing.
With over 4500 hours of footage, there are some entertaining deleted and
extended scenes (35:26) in this presentation that definitely assists in
filling your cravings for more. Add in audio commentary by Kevin
Macdonald and editor Joe Walker which is informative, especially the
process of linking it all together plus promo spots (13:56), a stop
motion featurette entitled Life in a Day Stop Frame (1:20) and my
favourite, Ridley Scott on Life in a Day (1:47), it's great that the
distributors of this film have actually gone to some effort in this
In the end, Life in a Day is a touching and mesmerising documentary
about humanity at its most vulnerable, most powerful and how we fit into
the bigger picture. At its essence, we are all connected and McDonald
successfully highlights this in the presentation that will make you
laugh, cry and have all your emotional heartstrings pulled.