No aliens, no superheroes, just "Life in a Day"

Fri Jul 29, 2011 6:35pm EDT
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By Bob Tourtellotte

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - It isn't among the most-hyped movies in theaters and won't win the battle of the weekend box office, but "Life in a Day" may just be the most unusual film playing in theaters this weekend.

One year ago, July 24, 2010, at the behest of Hollywood producer/director Ridley Scott and YouTube, thousands of people around the world videotaped their day, then sent the footage into a group of filmmakers who were tasked with editing that film into a feature-length movie.

The result, "Life in a Day," debuted at the Sundance Film Festival in January and opens in U.S. theaters on Friday.

Judging by early reviews, people seem to like it and for fans of independent movies and art house fare, it brings a respite from a summer filled with big-budget, effects-laden flicks like "Captain America: The First Avenger," "Cowboys & Aliens" or the upcoming "Rise of the Planet of the Apes."

It didn't start out that way.

In fact, by the filmmakers' own admission, it started out "an experiment," then became "a movie" only after director Kevin Macdonald and editor Joe Walton (Scott is credited as executive producer) began building a narrative from the roughly 4,500 videos they received from 192 countries.

Macdonald, the Oscar-wining director of documentary "One Day in September" and the widely-acclaimed narrative film "The Last King of Scotland," still calls the movie "an experimental film" -- not exactly an experiment.

"It's unlike anything that's been made before," he told Reuters. "It's unique, and what's remarkable is that an experimental film can reach a wide audience and can be emotional and make you laugh."   Continued...