Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Life in a Day (2011)

National Geographic Entertainment
Directed by Kevin Macdonald
My rating: 2 stars out of 4
IMDb Wikipedia

July 24th, 2010, as captured by amateur filmmakers around the world, submitted mostly on YouTube, then re-edited into a feature length documentary. It's organized more or less chronologically, starting in the pre-dawn hours as some people go to work or stay up through the previous night, then a montage of people getting out of bed, making breakfast, etc. Things get more serious over the course of the day, highlighting the vast differences between the First and Third World. One smug man shows off his Lamborghini, while in Afghanistan more than a dozen people live in one room and struggle to eat. As night falls, the theme becomes more contemplative, finally ending in a thunderstorm around midnight as a young woman regrets that nothing "great" happened during her day, but then contradicts herself. There are moments of greatness among the vast array of imagery, and some very touching stories among the recurring characters. However, there are also some unexpected jarring moments which threaten to spoil the whole thing. In particular, animal cruelty rears its ugly head and this contains one of the most graphic, brutal depictions of the killing of a cow that I can ever remember seeing in a film. Absolutely disgusting and completely unnecessary. Later, a goat appears briefly with a knife at its throat, but I managed turn away in time. It's a shame, really, because the rest of the film contained so much potential.

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