Life in a Day – cheesy but good

I went to see the Life in a Day movie this week, rather unwillingly – it was more a case of “Hmm, I’ve already seen Xmen, and the people I’m going with are not the types for the puerile (or should that be puelline) humour of Bridesmaids”, than a particular desire to pay to see other people’s “fascinating” home video footage of a random day.

For those who haven’t heard anything about it: Life in a Day is a documentary that cuts together Youtube footage from thousands of users, who were asked to record their day on 24th July 2010. It also adds in professionally shot sections to cover countries and communities who do not have the resources to videotape their day. It is directed by Kevin Macdonald, and produced by Ridley Scott and his brother. The film goes through the day chronologically, showing the same activity (eg. breakfast) as it is performed around the world.

I suspected it would drive home the message of a) how much people have in common, b) how great the simple life is, and c) how grateful consumer society should be for the hard work in other countries that enable all these goods and services. It did all of those things (eg. showing people fishing for octopus, cut to a sushi conveyor belt), but if you ignore the heavy handed and simplistic messages, it’s still a lovely film, and also has some extremely amusing as well as touching moments. The professionally filmed sections are visually stunning, and I could quite happily have watched an entire film just about  Romanian goatherders.

It’s a shame they included some scenes that make it unsuitable for children – e.g. killing a cow, including severing its head, a woman and a giraffe giving birth, some very disturbing footage of the fatal crush at the Duisburg Love Parade.

By amusing coincidence, the book I’m reading at the moment (The White Spider) is about the first ascent of the Eiger North Face, which took place on 24th July 1938.

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