Monday, March 30, 2020

Review: Another Day of Life

Release date: October 26, 2018
Running time: 85 minutes
Starring: Miroslaw Haniszewski, Vergil J. Smith, Tomasz Zietek 

Another Day of Life follows war journalist Ryszard Kapuscinski (Haniszewski) as he covers the Angolan civil war.  Kapuscinski was in Angola for three months and witnessed first-hand the horrors of the conflict, the danger of battle, and the shifting lines of the various fronts.  The film details this journey, some experiences from his teaching days, and the various people he met during his stay in Angola.

Another Day of Life's most striking feature is its distinctive animation style, although the film isn't entirely animated.  The film combines documentary footage, computer animated recreations, and current footage of Angolan people to tell this story.  The computer generated animation is striking, with a cell shaded, hand drawn look to it.  And it provides an interesting way for the viewers to relive what Kapuscinski went through.  However, in practice this comes off as artificial. The animation is less hand drawn and more akin to what you would see in a modern, cell-shaded video game.  The character movement is good but still has some jerky tendencies, making the videos feel less natural.  And they also tend to blunt the impact of some of the scenes, as seeing the horrors of war through an animated lense is less real and less shocking than seeing documentary footage.  Maybe this was by choice but the story itself was so compelling that I wanted to see it in as realistic a fashion as I could.

Another Day of Life does give a good amount of background to the conflict, as well as introducing many to a side of life that they would never experience.  The documentary footage and footage from modern day Angola are really something to see.  Seeing the conflict and the effects it has had in the modern day really humanizes what many have probably only read about.  And the movie is helped along by a fantastic soundtrack that has period appropriate pieces where needed and dramatic music during the intense scenes.  And the movie does not feel like it pulls any punches.  Despite it being based on Kapuscinski's time and book, it also portrays the man's flaws.  He gets too involved in the conflict and openly sides with one side over the other, which I imagine is not something a journalist should do.  However, it allows it to be a very personal movie on top of being informative.  

Another Day of Life uses its distinctive animation style, documentary footage, and modern day images to tell a compelling, personal war story. 

Rent it

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