Life in a Day MAG

January 13, 2012
By rots28 DIAMOND, East Hampton, Connecticut
rots28 DIAMOND, East Hampton, Connecticut
85 articles 0 photos 6 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Real love amounts to withholding the truth, even when you're offered the perfect opportunity to hurt someone's feelings."
— David Sedaris (Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim)


Cinema verité is a type of documentary filmmaking usually characterized by its naturalistic style. It is, as its translation suggests, “truthful film.” While there have certainly been revolutionary films made in this style, such as “Gimme Shelter,” “Hoop Dreams,” and “Woodstock,” never has the scope been so huge as in “Life in a Day.” Culling 80,000 entries and 4,500 hours of footage, this community-made documentary is a stunning look at life.

All of the footage, submitted by YouTube users, depicts life on one day, July 24th, 2010. It seems an interesting, albeit rather simplistic, idea. But editor Joe Walker takes these images and gives them power, and together they are harmonious.

It is interesting that instead of portraying the differences in our environments and ideologies, the film shows the homogeneity. While the singular events that shape our lives are different, we generally do the same things. We all wake up in the morning (or don't), have breakfast of some sort, and begin our routine.

The steady flow of images, seamlessly edited, is one of the best aspects of the film. It never ceases to hold the viewer's attention merely because the images are so interesting. They have their own individual meanings as well as a collective one.

“Life in a Day” is an impressive feat for a documentary. The scope and scale is monumental and the film is packed with emotion that grabs your attention from the start. Each story and frame has meaning, and its visually arresting style make this one of the best documentaries of the year.


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