By: Henry J. Fromage (Three Beers) –
On July 24, 2010 people from all over the world shoot over 4,500 hours of footage at the behest of filmmakers Ridley Scott (Blade Runner) and Kevin Macdonald (The Last King of Scotland). Their goal was to edit this massive amount of footage, which came from 192 countries and countless cultures, into a cohesive film that would provide a snapshot of the world as it is today.
Being Youtube, it’s a bit of a miracle it didn’t come out like this
Just the ambition alone of this project is deserving of a raised glass of your favorite libation. The filmmakers provided a short list of open-ended questions (“What is your favorite thing?”, “What is your greatest fear?”) as a suggestion for what to talk about, but otherwise provided no other direction. They wanted to leave as much space for creativity as possible, a stance that was as risky as it was inspired.
Considering 90% of the 80,000 clips were probably of pets
The film that emerged from all this footage is an amazing testament to the culture and creativity that differentiates us… and the essential humanity that unites us all. Macdonald and film editor Joe Walker use a basic approach to assembling the footage together- chronological, which yields several montages of daily routines around the world, from waking up and making coffee to finishing work and sitting down for a meal. Those sequences are magical, and sure to give you new pleasure in even the most mundane details of your own.
Except for your “daily exercise”. They don’t touch on that much.
Kudos have to be given to the contributors’ abilities to tell small, self-contained stories, both comic and tragic in just a few minutes. A last nod goes once again to Macdonald and Walker, who also use the footage to underscore the universality of broader themes, such as birth, love, death, religion as well as their willingness to not shy away from harsher images and truths.
However, they also don’t shy away from the weirdos. I know, your conspiracy-obsessed uncle or that cat lady down the street are facts of life, too, but surely one such person is enough to represent that. I also have to recommend a few sips whenever you can see the editors influencing the direction of a story rather than merely presenting it. They don’t do this much, but at times you can feel the outlines of statements being made that come more from the editing and arrangement than the footage itself. This isn’t inherently bad, but does seem to conflict with the spirit of the project a bit.
Fire up your largest-screened internet capable device and mosey over to Youtube to give this film a watch. Grab a couple of beers, preferably from two opposite corners of the globe, and enjoy this gorgeous poignant day in the life… of us all.
Bonus Drinking Game
Take a Drink: for every montage of customs or routines
Take a Drink: every time you see something sad and/or uplifting
Drink a Shot: when you see where food or babies come from