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Precious day on Earth charms

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ONE DAY ON EARTH

DIRECTORS: Kyle Ruddick

CLASSIFICATION: PG

RUNNING TIME: 104 minutes

RATING: ****

Fascinating and wonderfully edited, this feature literally documents one day in the life of Earth.

The video time capsule was the brainchild of Kyle Ruddick and Brandon Litman, who headed a project to donate video cameras to more than 95 UN country offices.

This resulted in 3 000 hours of footage from more than 19 000 professional and amateur film-makers, from places as far-flung as Papua New Guinea and Abyei, a district in South Sudan.

Some clips are just images, some give us an entire story, like the woman who collects clocks in Rio de Janeiro and the little boy who celebrated his tenth birthday on 10.10.10, which was the day earmarked for the filming to take place.

As one person puts it, “for life to be precious, you must perceive life to be precious”, so your appreciation of these images will depend on your stance on the miracle of life.

For the most part they are all very well filmed, and the entire feature has been very tightly edited. The sequence dealing with music, especially, is a rare feat of cohesion. There is no story arc, but the clips are divided into chapters presaged by hard data about population statistics.

It starts and ends with the same person, talking about the need to tell his story in the dark and his gratitude that someone paid attention.

We see daily rituals, ceremonies – and simply everyday life. The exuberance of the children, especially, is striking, as is the enjoyment of food.

The clips are all too brief, but the overriding impression you are left with is how it all connects – that, and though the experiences may be disparate, they are all linked by the very human-ness of the experience. Even the sequences about the natural world deals with the human impact on the world around us. The interdependence of nations and transport is also touched on.

The local angle comes in halfway through when we get a South African explaining what 350.org is all about – the online global grassroots movement dealing with climate change.

The end credits show all the participants and even more footage that didn’t make it into the finished product, with what can best be a described as a music video of world music.


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