If One Day on Earth feels familiar, it’s because last year’s Ridley Scott–produced film Life in a Day offered up essentially the same concept. Like the earlier, higher-profile project, Kyle Ruddick’s doc is a crowd-sourced collage of video snippets all recorded on the same day by participants around the globe. But though One Day suffers many of the same weaknesses of its predecessor (chiefly, the inability of largely banal clips to enhance our understanding of the world around us), it also has several advantages over that severely misguided project. Drawing on footage gleaned from every country in the world shot on the auspicious sounding date of 10/10/10, Ruddick’s film shows an environmental and geopolitical awareness largely lacking in Life in a Day. Although much of One Day’s footage is fairly ordinary, a long take of a garbage truck compacting oozy rubbish and a slow pan across a tire graveyard emphasize the waste in a world of limited and unevenly distributed resources—all of which is reinforced in the movie’s pop-up factoids. But ultimately, a collage film is only as good as its constituent parts, and, with a few exceptions, the brief snippets from this particular day on earth are far too prosaic to be illuminating.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on May 30, 2012