• February 8, 2023

Kevin Macdonald, Ridley Scott Join Forces For Another ‘Life In A Day’ : NPR

The crowd-sourced documentary Life In A Day 2020 explores life around the world in a single day: July 25, 2020. It is a sequel to the first version filmed a decade ago.

NOEL KING, HOST:

Filmmaker Kevin Macdonald invited the world to participate in a documentary 10 years ago. Together with producer Ridley Scott, he mixed scenes that people had sent out of their lives on a single day in July 2010. Now, 10 years later, they’re doing it again. This is Avery Keatley from NPR.

AVERY KEATLEY, BYLINE: It starts with a storm.

(SOUNDBITE OF DOCUMENTARY, “LIFE IN ONE DAY 2020”)

UNIDENTIFIED BABY: (crying)

KEATLEY: Lightning flashes and thunder rumbles as we see mothers go to work and give birth.

KEVIN MACDONALD: It starts in the middle of the night, the order of babies that are born, because often this is obvious when babies are born.

KEATLEY: Kevin Macdonald directed the crowdsourced documentary “Life In A Day 2020”. It’s a sequel to “Life In A Day” from the 2010s. Macdonald asked people around the world to film their life for a day and submit it to create something of a time capsule of life on July 25, 2020. They received 324,000 videos from 192 countries.

(SOUNDBITE OF DOCUMENTARY, “LIFE IN ONE DAY 2020”)

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: (speaks Spanish)

KEATLEY: Scenes and montages follow the arc of the day from early morning to night – waking, cooking, working, worldly human affairs. The film follows a man chasing trains, a woman trying to conceive, a man with a little white dog.

MACDONALD: I picked these great moments, these fascinating characters. How do I weave them together to form something that flows and in which you feel like you have had not just a day but some kind of human experience behind you?

KEATLEY: The film follows familiar narrative themes – birth and death, celebration and sadness, love and loss. However, one issue was inevitable in 2020.

JACK ARBUTHNOTT: When we talked about it in March, we naively thought the lockdowns could possibly be over by July.

KEATLEY: Producer Jack Arbuthnott also produced the original “Life In A Day”.

ARBUTHNOTT: I was always very curious to see what happened to the people who were in the original film. When the pandemic started there seemed an even better reason to visit again.

KEATLEY: Suzanne Lucas submitted footage for the original “Life In A Day”. She filmed her teenage son Alexander, who didn’t want to get up all the way. In 2020, Suzanne rolls the camera while watching her 2010 clip.

(SOUNDBITE OF DOCUMENTARY, “LIFE IN ONE DAY 2020”)

SUZANNE LUCAS: That was my son 10 years ago on the original “Life In A Day”. I’ll show you my son now.

And then I turn the camera to my son’s urn and where I set everything up and said, this is my son now.

(SOUNDBITE OF DOCUMENTARY, “LIFE IN ONE DAY 2020”)

LUCAS: He’s at home with me forever. Oh, this is going to be harder than I thought.

KEATLEY: Suzanne’s son Alexander Lucas died as a result of COVID-19 in February 2020. The film is dedicated to him.

LUCAS: If you lose your child – and he was my only child. Your mind is very cruel to you at times, but I was afraid that if something happened to me it would really be gone because it’s the memories I have that keep it here now. And with this film, this beautiful film of 2020 dedicated to Alexander, at least now I know that he will be remembered even if I am no longer here. It gave me a feeling of peace that I never thought I would.

KEATLEY: Director Kevin Macdonald reflects on the emotional range of the day.

MACDONALD: The roller coaster of this film is the kind of roller coaster of life. We know there will be difficult moments. We know there will be dark spots. But there can also be moments of incredible happiness and joy – and for most people too.

KEATLEY: “Living in a Day 2020” is a reminder that every day is auspicious, regardless of the year.

Avery Keatley, NPR News.

(SOUNDBITE BY MAC MILLER SONG, “GOOD NEWS”)

KING: “Life In A Day 2020” premieres on YouTube this weekend.

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