Life in a Day is a 2011 documentary produced by Ridley Scott. The film is a 90 minute compilation of user-submitted videos from 192 countries, filmed on July 24, 2010. The documentary follows the daily lives and extraordinary experiences of people across the world. The documentary shows how similar, and yet how different, the human experience is throughout the world.
By showing a diverse selection of cultural and personal experiences, the viewer is reminded of the plethora of human lifestyles. In candidly portraying many different perspectives and viewpoints on the world, Life in a Day shows the diversity of how many live in faraway places. Due to this raw view on distant cultures and people, Life in a Day is an eye-opening documentary.
(How is Life in a Day an eye-opening documentary?)
Documentaries are used as tools to bring the viewer into the perspective of the camera. Showing a fresh point of reference, the camera serves to open the viewer’s eyes to different lives: a porthole into an unfamiliar world. A well-done documentary gives the audience a fresh set of eyes on the subject and possibly a new perspective on life. In pulling the viewer into the context of the film, a documentary succeeds in its goal of bringing a new understanding to the audience.
As a documentary made from user generated footage, Life in a Day draw from an unusually diverse body of media. Unlike Life in a Day, most documentaries are limited in scope due to a lack of resources; with the use of user generated footage, this documentary is able to overcome this limitation and has produced a more comprehensive body of work than a traditional documentary could achieve. Each submission is genuinely unique in style, giving a richer and more diverse film from scene to scene. This breadth of perspectives gives Life in a Day a depth and intricacy that goes beyond what most documentaries can achieve.
Life in a Day is edited to convey an overall narrative beyond a typical mashup. The documentary has several sections related to different times during the day, starting with people waking up and getting out of bed, moving on to brushing teeth, making breakfast, and so forth. You see the similarities and differences between cultures, offering an insight into how these completely foreign people might live their lives. The film uses these commonalities to highlight the plight of those in conditions far worse than the average YouTube user is in. In showing such a raw view of life in distant nations, Life in a Day reveals our common humanity and vast cultural differences.
The film is both sympathetic and mocking of the eccentricities of people throughout the world. Many people shown in the film are living at the extremes of the social norm: a man in foreclosure with a warehouse full of pianos, a girl who carries flags of the places her ancestors are from, a woman upset that she was unable to find a subject to film on the 24th. As the curator of the content submitted by others, Ridley Scott is entrusted with preserving the dignity and spirit of the work. While it does exploit their candor at times, Life in a Day gives a voice to the people of the world.
At times, Life in a Day takes a more lighthearted approach. Many of its sequences are meant to show the humorous things that are happening all the time: from a guy looking for more from his platonic friend to a man’s love for his refrigerator. The everyday moments in life are to be treasured and there is opportunity for greatness around every corner. The overall tone of the documentary is one of revelation, that the world is full of richness and wonder.
Life in a Day contains the heart and soul of the human race; it shows the emotional extremes of elation and sadness, celebration and tragedy. With the trials and joys of daily life put on display for all to see, Life in a Day shows us a reflection of who we really are, both as individuals and as a race. Life is full of wonder and great things every day, it is on you to see that greatness.