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One Day on Earth 2012


Distributed by Ro*co Films International, llc, 80 Liberty Ship Way, Suite 5, Sausolito, CA 94965; 415-332-6471
Produced by Kyle Ruddick
Directed by Kyle Ruddick
DVD , color, 88 min.

Jr. High - General Adult
Anthropology, Crowdsourcing, Collaborative filmmaking, Life stages

Date Entered: 12/06/2013

Reviewed by Christopher Lewis, American University Library, American University

One Day on Earth is a crowd-sourced compilation of video shot by a few hundred videographers in every country on earth on October 10, 2010. The footage is arranged in thematic sections and occasional informational titles that complement each theme (e.g. “260,000 people met their future spouse today”) are included. Themes include birth, weddings, arts, sports, entertainment, religion, war, and death. There is no narration.

Given the scale of the effort, this reviewer is sheepish in critiquing any shortcomings but there is a problem with the concept itself. On paper it sounds like it would be a captivating work and the finished piece is competently edited. However it might be an impossible task to condense such an enormous amount of information into a manageable length and still create meaningful context or narrative development . The broad thematic groupings seem to have been the only option. In order to show something from every country it’s necessary to skip around a lot. The effect is similar to watching an opening montage to a National Geographic special though more deliberately paced and lasting over 100 minutes. Without a narrative thread the film amounts to a very long flow of images of daily life on a global scale and much of the footage is beautiful and there are several entertaining moments despite the fact that the overall effect is tiring. One does have to remind oneself that this all happened in a day. As a documentary the film comes up short but as a conceptual work it will hold interest for many users; it will probably best serve as a time capsule.

Similar films include Samsara (2011), Baraka (1992), and Koyaanisqatsi (1982).

At a home use price One Day on Earth is a slam dunk but at a higher institutional price it is recommended but not essential; it’s hard to imagine it getting adequate curricular use to justify its purchase.

Incidentally One Day on Earth was followed by One Day on Earth: Survival, a compilation of video shot on November 11, 2011 and One Day on Earth: 12.12.12. At present, the video reviewed here is the only one of the three that’s commercially available at this time.