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BERLINALE 2011 Panorama Special

A feel-good Life in a Day


A feel-good Life in a Day

Ridley Scott’s YouTube project Life in a Day [+see also:
film profile
directed by Kevin Macdonald is a heart-warming compilation experiment which, albeit impressively, shows a much nicer world than the one that we live in.

The idea was to invite YouTube users to provide content by filming whatever they think is interesting on July 24, 2010 and submit it to the channel. Then, with the help of what must have been an army of assistants speaking dozens of languages, Macdonald (who won an Oscar for documentary One Day in September in 2000) went through the huge amount of material in a very short time frame (the film premiered at Sundance), composing it into a film which works as a whole.

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And it does. We see people literally around the world waking up, eating, working, going to toilet, from morning till night, and the editing of sequences flows smoothly, almost as if by a script. Macdonald does form a few actual stories that develop throughout the film, so some of the content is used more, while other “co-directors” get only a shot or two included in the film, sometimes to build rhythm, sometimes to create atmosphere.

In the invitation video on YouTube Macdonald says that the goal of the project is for the film to be a kind of a time capsule that people can look at in distant future and see what the world was like on that particular day. But those people will get a much prettier picture than the actual one. There is no war (unless you count an American woman chatting on Skype with her husband stationed in an unspecifed overseas country), no drug use (though a Russian guy does find two syringes in his pocket), no rape, no criminal activities, animals are being killed rarely and with mercy, a woman is recovering from cancer... Near the end of the film there are some shots from the tragedy at the Love Parade in Duisburg, but without the really tragic segments.

Co-produced by YouTube, Scott Free Films and LG, with this kind of feel-good quality the film is sure to encounter warm reception, but the stated goal has definitely been missed.

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