Alien (1979), Blade Runner (1982), Legend (1985), Top Gun (1986), American Gangsters (2007), Thelma & Louise (1991), Unstoppable (2010) to name a few.
Similar in concept to visual documentaries such as Baraka (1992) and the recent Babies (2010), this documentary follows people from all walks of life and from around the world in 192 countries on a single day in their lives. We see a collage of revealing short moments during a typical day in summer on July 24, 2010 including the daily routine of waking up, eating breakfast, going to work or play, until the time they finish their day at midnight. At the same time we get to hear people from different cultures talking about their loves, fears, and hopes.
The film footage was filmed by the actual people in the film and then sent in to the Director of the documentary, Kevin Macdonald who also directed movies like Touching the Void (2003), The Last King of Scotland (2006), State of Play (2009) and recently The Eagle (2011), to be compiled and edited into what we see on screen. The results are very candid and interesting glimpses into real people’s lives.
We glimpse moments with people in different stages of life from birth, childhood, working, courtship, wedding ceremonies, tragedies, eating habits, illnesses, old age and death. What is remarkable is how, no matter our background, age or location on the planet, we are all pretty much the same; doing the same things and feeling the same way about them.
It reveals our similar fears, loves and hopes and as one girl said in a heartfelt monologue to her camera while in her car, even though nothing remarkable happened to her that day, ‘I want people to know that I am here, that I exist’.
Among the many spectacles, we get to see a young man from Korea traveling around the world on his bicycle who wants to see North and South Korea reunited.
We see a man fainting while videotaping the birth of his baby. We see another person navigating street obstacles on his way through the city using the practice of Parkour; running, vaulting, jumping, rolling, and climbing over walls, subway turnstiles, fences, windows and other city environments.
We get to see a person from Kabul, Afghanistan showing us a more peaceful side of life in Kabul streets and markets away from the war footage.
People are asked to answer questions like ‘What do you love?’ What do you fear?’ and ‘What is in your pocket?’ One guy says the thing he loves most is his refrigerator because it’s cool, it sits in a corner and doesn’t talk back. Many times during this documentary I found myself laughing out loud at what people say and do. Unfortunately there are no labels on the screen to indicate where in the world we are, unless it’s mentioned by the people in the videos. But part of the fun is guessing.
Overall I found it quite enlightening and worth watching more than once. This could easily be a project that could be repeated every two or three years and the documentaries would definitely improve over time. If you like YouTube videos and these kinds of globe-trotting documentaries like I do, it’s worth seeing.