Film Review: Life in a Day

Doc oddity of crowd-sourced footage from hundreds of amateurs around the globe reflecting their notions of life in a typical day is all over the map geographically but isolated in a dead zone emotionally, thematically and intellectually.

An official selection at fests as important as Sundance, Berlin, SXSW and Seattle, Life in a Day (July 24, 2010, specifically) only makes sense as an experiment in new content creation for a world already drowning in content.

Culled from more than 80,000 videos submitted to YouTube and representing over 4,500 hours, the doc’s 90 minutes of material from everyday folk around the world amounts to naught. The film bounces around in no particular order, with montages of people waking up, eating breakfast, getting married, etc. But where/who are they?

In the hodgepodge are short sequences featuring a giraffe giving birth, a Korean on a bike traveling the world (How about a doc just about this guy?), an old hippie sharing his tribulations, a Mexican kid shining shoes, a poor Arab family, the awful execution of a cow, a Brit and his kid just hanging out, a big German gathering where people are trampled to death, a goat’s throat cut, and so on. Themes here are inconsequential and there’s no context for any of what is delivered, nor are places and languages identified. Life in a Day might speak to world travelers, but those more anchored in their armchairs will find this journey meaningless.

Yes, that crowd-sourcing idea (Cheap content! Everyone’s a filmmaker!) seems cool. But the film leaves you cold and asking: Where am I and why am I here in the first place? If it’s a movie theatre, you’re a sitting duck.