March 6, 2012

Making You Feel, Part 3

While I was home sick this past week, I got caught up on some great documentaries via streaming Netflix.  (I love that now I have access to all these offbeat things.) One of the documentaries I watched was Life in a Day.  Here’s the wiki about it.

Life in a Day is a crowdsourced drama/documentary film comprising an arranged series of video clips selected from 80,000 clips submitted to the YouTube video sharing website, the clips showing respective occurrences from around the world on a single day, July 24, 2010.
The film is 94 minutes 57 seconds long and includes scenes selected from 4,500 hours of footage in 80,000 submissions from 192 nations. The completed film debuted at the Sundance Film Festival on January 27, 2011 and the premiere was streamed live on YouTube. On October 31, 2011, YouTube announced that Life in a Day would be available for viewing on its website free of charge, and on DVD.
The film was the creation of a partnership among YouTube, Ridley Scott Associates and LG electronics, announced on July 6, 2010. Users sent in videos supposed to be recorded on July 24, 2010, and then Ridley Scott produced the film and edited the videos into a film with director Kevin Macdonald and film editor Joe Walker, consisting of footage from some of the contributors. All chosen footage authors are credited as co-directors.

When I first saw its description, I thought, hmm.  Could be interesting.  Then I went on.  Came back.  If it isn’t, I thought, I can always skim it. Then I was riveted for the full hour and a half. 

What an amazing film!  It’s doing just what I want to do ~ taking small moments in people’s lives, the stuff of everyday life, and crafting it into something that feels of a part, a whole, Art with a capital A. 

It is structured as the day, so there is nighttime and a full moon at first.  Early risers getting on with their day, then everyone getting up, then breakfast, through lunch, then dinner, and so on.  But it’s not only grouped chronologically but also thematically.  So you get a part around breakfast that show the gathering and making of food.  You get a part around midmorning about having babies.  You have a part in the afternoon about love.  And at the end of the day, of course, you get a part about death.  It sounds much more chaotic than it feels ~ I felt like I trusted this movie and the movie makers, even though they take us to some dark places (the darkest of which is the slaughtering of a cow for food). 

Did I mention how much I love this film!?

It is not just little bits of people’s lives, though there is a lot of that.  It also chooses a couple of longer vignettes that are scattered throughout the film.  Also, it has people answer questions on camera.  What is in your pocket or handbag?  What do you fear?

There are many reasons it is so excellent.  They went to the trouble to view all the clips (through volunteers) and took the best of the best.  The editing and music is superb.  I read that some reviewers didn’t like it, and I was incensed on the filmmakers’ behalves!

But to making you feel.  This movie makes you feel. It’s funny and light and shows the brightness of the human heart, but it’s dark too.  It’s got all those things I talked about yesterday (details, composition and focus, juxtaposition of small and large, leading to the human condition).  The very best moments are those that juxtapose the everyday life with huge wrestling-with-angels kinds of issues.  A mother and father with their little boy, going through the day, all while the mother is just recovering from a mastectomy.  A father and little boy waking up and praying for their dead wife/mother. A man who just had his second heart transplant who talks about how thankful he is to his caretakers.  So human. So divine.

I urge you to see the movie when you get a chance.  You can stream it for free on Youtube. Or if you have Netflix.

PS Tomorrow, I’ll wrap up with a part 4 on making you feel.

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