I went to see Life in a Day. My deepest response to this film is that I feel ashamed to be me, but not in a bad way, since I can’t be anyone else, it’s more a humbled feeling along with a sense of reverence for every being I share the planet with. Our daily lives are so very different culturally, and even more dramatically different economically. Our struggles are not the same, and yet, there are so many common experiences and feelings that we share.
The film also made me understand that my choice to spend so much time alone, and the hiatus I’ve placed on traveling these many decades (after my only world trek in 1969), isolates me in many ways that I don’t always configure into my values and philosophical musings. You can’t know everything from reading and thinking, I guess is that message.
The premise for the film was to ask people around the world film their day on July 24th 2010, and upload it to YouTube. According to Wikipedia, the film was edited from 4,500 hours of footage in 80,000 submissions from 1 4,500 nations. About one-fourth of the final film came from cameras sent out to people in various places within the developing world.
It was edited in a way that brought the audience through the hours of a day; an early piece shows a woman in moonlight telling us that 3-4 AM is the time the veil between our world and the next is thinnest. The editing was seamless and not intrusive. Some of the scenes were really spectacular, such as the birth of a giraffe juxtaposed with a dad fainting while trying to film the Cesarian delivery of his child. There is quite a bit of blood over the course of a day.
There was a man spending the day in an ICU; a woman dealing with a cancer recurrence; scenes of people dying in a crowded tunnel at a festival; people eating, sleeping, grooming and working; people sky diving and surfing; a very young boy shining shoes to help ends meet at home; a single father living in dire poverty; a young man living in NYC calling his grandmother on the phone to let her know he is gay; a woman stateside skyping her husband serving in Afghanistan; an Afghani photojournalist walking around in Kabul; a Korean man who has been traveling for 6 years around the world on a bike who ponders how to reunite north and south Korea; African woman sitting together, singing while pounding some type of grain into flour.
It was humbling to watch. It was good to watch. A reminder of our individual smallness within a far larger context.