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There’s no denying that One Day on Earth is the ultimate high concept documentary. This film directed by Kyle Ruddick — although “assembled” would probably be a more accurate description — features footage shot by amateur filmmakers in every country of the world on the same day. Even the date, Oct. 10, 2010, can be easily reduced to the more dramatic 10/10/10.
Much like the recent, similarly themed Life in a Day, the results are more admirable than enlightening or even entertaining. The film’s 104 minutes ambitiously packs in a huge amount of evocative imagery that well conveys the diversity of life on the planet. But it still feels more like a video art installation, a cinematic edition of National Geographic on steroids, than anything resembling a coherent film.
Accompanying the often fleeting footage is a series of factoids designed to wow us with the sheer accumulation of, well, everything. For instance, on that day apparently 363,000 babies were born while 154,000 people died, which isn’t exactly heartening news for those worried about the population explosion.
While the film produced in collaboration with the United Nations and over 60 non-profit organizations certainly provides a comprehensive travelogue—you’ll probably want to finally book that Bali vacation, even while taking note of other locations to avoid—it lacks the thematic resonance necessary to make it anything more than an impressive curiosity.
It does, however, boast another notable feat, namely that it recently broke a world record with its simultaneous premiere screenings in 160 countries on Earth Day, including one at the U.N.’s General Assembly. And if you attend its current theatrical run, you’ll be happy to hear that the ticket proceeds are being donated to local charities.
Opened: June 1
Production (Alarm Clock Films, One Day on Earth LLC)
Director/screenwriter: Kyle Ruddick
Producer: Brandon Litman
Editors: Michael Martinez, Mark Morgan
Music: Joseph Minadeo
Not rated, 104 min.
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