Another Day Of Life is an adaptation of a book by Polish reporter Ryszard Kapuscinski on the Angolan war for independence. This film is a cinematic masterpiece which swift use of visuals, sound and documentary footage imposes on the viewer a lasting feeling of oppression.
As soon as the credits start rolling, the audience is locked in a tumult of dark, ominous war images, which invoke chaos and urgency. Gradually, the unintelligible sounds clear up and the sound of typing raises above the silence- an omnipresent being, concealed from the eye of the audience, is submitting a report. By the time the credits fade into the film proper, the voiceover has hooked us in.
Another day of life is a hybrid that swiftly combines two seemingly incongruous agents, facts and fiction. This is where gripping documentary footage and kaleidoscopic animation merge the experience of a foreign reporter and of the natives, the experience of the audience and of the author.
It is safe to say that nothing in this film is static. On the contrary, energy pumps all the way throughout it as we embark upon a journey with Ryszard Kapuscinski across the blood-bathed roads of Angola in 1975. With him, we seek answers. With him, we witness atrocities. And with him, we bear the burden of war.
It is astounding how despite the atrocities the film portrays, it is still permeated with magic, although wistful. And to this magic, created with the help of beautiful animation, documentary footage adds a pint of needed realism; It is almost as if the animation was giving us wings to raise above the brutality of war and then the documentary footage pulled on a chain at our ankles, bringing us to face the facts. Like a child might pull on a balloon string; or like your heart plummets when when elevator stops. This is what you feel all the way throughout the film.
With the skillful use of animation, Kapuscinski’s trauma and anxiety, stemming from his experience with previous war conflicts, are brought to life- we are there as his world gradually falls apart; Another Day of Life is a brutal insight into the cost of being a war reporter and the difficulty of recording horror without interfering. When Kapuscinski wants to take a picture of an injured soldier, the image flickers and the soldier morphs into dozens of other war victims that Kapuscinski has captured throughout his career. The voices and phantoms of people he couldn’t save, combined with the play of shadows as well as red and grey palette of colors, craft a ghostly representation of post-traumatic stress disorder spiced up with one of the most daunting human emotions, guilt. Gradually, Kapuscinski is forced to face the truth that “people die in war” and that his duty as a reporter is to let “the world read about it”. He achieves that by “showing the world through the prism of the emotions of the people he met” and “adding a lot of allegorical magic and poetry to it” as says Damian Nenow, animator of the film.
Another day of life is not just another film about war. This film is war. It grips you by the heart, and with every pump of your blood, makes you more and more concerned for people and country you may have never given much thought before. And with the ending of the film, when frenzied Kapuscinski tumbles around the room, struggling to find the best way to narrate his experience, it is safe to say that we will not forget about it.
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