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One Day on Earth

You would have to be a terribly dull and incurious person not to be fascinated by at least some of this movie, which boasts some astonishing statistics. Sponsored by an arm of the United Nations, which helped distribute 1,000 high-definition cameras provided by the producers, it was filmed in every country on the planet, all on the same day, October 10, 2010. (Which is to say, 10/10/10.) The final product took 16 months to edit down from 3,000 hours fo footage contributed by 19,000 amateur and professional filmmakers. (One of those photographers, and a co-producer of the project, was Buffalo native Daniel Lichtblau.)

Opening with a scene from a university lecture that attempts to impress students with the vastness of the universe, in which Earth is “not even a speck—we’re a speck in a speck in a speck”), the film then proceeds in the opposite direction, to offer a peek at how much diversity there is on this tiny piece of the cosmos.

Loosely organized by themes that are introduced by onscreen statistics (how many people were born on this day, how many died, how many styles of music there were, how many tons of waste produced, etc.), the footage, all of which is of high quality and much of which is of striking beauty, is identified by country. (You may recall that feeling from watching the opening ceremonies of the Olympic Games of how many countries there are that you’ve never heard of.)

The rapid-fire format makes One Day on Earth unable to offer any real depth on some of the important issues it brings up, like poverty and the abuse of civil rights in many countries. But it should be commended for mixing such themes with other concerns in its collage of the natural and social world. It’s overwhelming, and you’re likely to find yourself zoning out at parts, but you’re still sure to absorb enough to make it a memorable experience.

Watch the trailer for One Day on Earth

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