A lot or a little?
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Life in a Day 2020 is the second compilation of videos about individual lives around the world on a single day, woven together from hundreds of thousands of submissions. Like the first edition from a day in 2010, the contributed videos are edited together with like material, and themes revolve around birth, death, family, friends, relationships, work, food, spirituality, hobbies, sports, racial justice, climate change, and the COVID-19 pandemic. Some of the experiences described or filmed are intense and emotional; others are light and humorous. People around the world live with varying degrees of comfort; some are content with their station in life, others are not. People talk about loved ones lost to COVID or elsewise. Several women give birth, and one birth is filmed in detail. Dead bodies are cleansed and buried. Couples kiss and suggest they'll be doing more off camera. Language includes "f--k," "f--ker," "f--king," "dammit," "bitch," and "fart." Some drinking. The film promotes empathy for and curiosity about each other across the human experience.
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What's the story?
The makers of LIFE IN A DAY 2020 asked people from around the world to send in videos of their lives on one specific day: July 25, 2020. They received 324,000 videos from 192 countries, representing 65 languages. The clips, organized loosely from morning to nighttime, capture a very different globe than the film's predecessor ten years ago due to the COVID pandemic. People talk about losing loved ones or their jobs and homes. Essential workers complete thankless tasks. Some people share their hobbies, others their homes, families, special events, religious practices, and hopes and fears for the future. People fall in and out of love. Some of the videos tackle political topics of racial or climate justice. What pulls them all together is the commonality of the human experience, despite superficial differences.
Is it any good?
It's impossible not to find something touching, funny, profound, sad, or inspiring of deeper thought in a film like this one. Yet precisely because there's so much packed in here, Life in a Day 2020 may best be watched -- and digested -- in segments. At about the one hour mark, the film dives into a montage of clips of wild animals, vast nature-scapes, industrial pollution, global climate change, and live food factories. It's such an important message, but after 60 minutes of humanity on display, the sustained emotion feels almost overwhelming. The same could be said of a section dedicated to Black Lives Matter protests in the US, which begins emotionally with a Black man driving by a house with Confederate flags and hinting that he keeps a gun around for self protection, and a Black woman who tearfully recalls that two of her brothers were killed in police custody.
This film is a labor of love, and it's a major effort of collection, curation, and editing. The organizers received 324,000 videos that they whittled down to 87 minutes. They've broadly organized them into like material spread out over the course of a single day, from sun up to sun down. It's also book-ended by babies being born and elderly people reflecting on lives well lived. Surprisingly, it's not entirely focused on COVID, but the pandemic is omnipresent, including in a man who has made the spiders in his home his family, a segment on essential workers of all kinds, and people who have lost loved ones. There's much to be learned about each other, most importantly that there's more that unites us than separates us as humans on this planet. "What I fear the most is that my life will pass unnoticed," a young man from Northern Siberia says, echoing a common human sentiment, and perhaps encapsulating the ultimate value of a project like this one: To notice, to reflect, and to care about ourselves and each other.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the common themes that concerned people around the world in Life in a Day 2020. What were some of the biggest differences you noticed?
Which stories or images stood out to you as the most memorable? Why?
- On DVD or streaming: February 6, 2021
- Director: Kevin Macdonald
- Studio: YouTube Originals
- Genre: Documentary
- Topics: Friendship, History
- Character strengths: Curiosity, Empathy
- Run time: 87 minutes
- MPAA rating: NR
- MPAA explanation: Adult themes, mature subjects.
- Awards/Honors: Common Sense Selection
- Last updated: June 6, 2021
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