Blu-ray Review: Another Day of Life

International cinema reminds us that are different perspectives to events. Whenever you see a Hollywood film that takes place overseas, we are given an American hero to survive and report on the events. American interests are presented in the perspective. It’s a bit of a shock when you see watch a film from what can only be described as the other side. Another Day of Life is about the war in Angola from the perspective of a journalist from communist Poland. Ryszard Kapuściński is there to report how communism will free the citizens of the African country when the Portuguese gave up the colony in 1975. He’s not rooting for the side being supported by the CIA. Another Day of Life is not the usual documentary about a journalist in a warzone as it mixes animation, archival footage and a modern revisiting to the country to give a full view of the war that overtook the country and the battle inside the Kapuściński.

Ryszard Kapuściński has been following the Cold War revolutions inside Africa as European countries pull out and battles ensue between forced that are backed by the America and the Soviet Union. Angola is his latest location as he covers the actions for the Polish news agency. This is not a cut and dry issue of two conflicting forces since there are more than one communist desiring forces and a few that want other governments. All of them seem to have their share of weapons and a desire to not care about the amount of fellow citizens they’ll slaughter to win control of the land. Kapuściński finds himself reporting on The People’s Movement for the Liberation of Angola, one of the larger forces. But he’s mostly stuck in the city getting second hand news to report back to Warsaw. Even the city doesn’t feel safe as his room trashed by those who don’t want a socialist reporter in their midst. Chaos takes over as various city services are abandoned with colonists returning home. Kapuściński goes out into the Southern part of the country to see the fighting and meet with a major leader. This leads to him encountering Carlota, a female fighter that becomes his face of the struggle. Unfortunately her glory doesn’t last so long. He sees the nightmare of what’s really going on in the countryside as people are slaughtered along the way. Adding to the chaos in a fight that’s supposed to be between the USA and USSR, comes his discovery that the South Africans are invading at the Southern border. He has to figure out what to do with this scoop since it could escalate everything beyond the nightmare has already devolved around him.

Another Day of Life gets deep into the nightmare of Angola that’s been pretty much forgotten. While it’s easy to initially think that Kapuściński’s reporting would be communist propaganda, his beliefs do get changed by this experience. A few years later, he’d get in trouble for supporting the pro-democracy Solidarity in Poland. The film doesn’t back down in its depiction of those involved in the fight. All seem extremely dangerous that crave power except for Carlota. Another Day of Life doesn’t Hollywood the events. Perhaps having an animated character depicting Kapuściński allows us to witness the events without carrying about the actor’s performance. We gets sense of him as a man who grew up during World War II so that he has always grown up with destruction and devastation around him. War has always been there for him. Although when it comes to Carlota, we get to see her animated and through the footage Kapuściński and other reporters shot of her. She is remembered as what Kapuściński thought was the soul of this struggle. Another Day of Life gets deep into the war in Angola and the reporter who thought it would be for the best. The mixing of the animation with images captured by Kapuściński adds even more to the film. Another Day of Life is a war-torn masterwork that looks at the Cold War from the other side.

The video is 2.35:1 anamorphic. The 1080p transfer brings out the details when things shift from animation to live action and archival photographs. The audio is DTS-HD MA 5.1. The sound design gets deep into the war and the conflicts inside Kapuściński’s head. The movie is subtitled in English, French and Spanish.

DVD with the movie and the bonus features.

Creating the Animated Characters (3:38) shows how they used photos of Kapuściński to make him the character on the screen.

Making Of (13:23) talks with how the directors Raul de la Fuente and Damian Nenow decided to approach Kapuściński’s book about Angola as an animated film. We see the human models being transformed as part of the CGI animation process.

Trailers (2:41) hints at the battles to come from Kapuściński’s coverage of the war.

Shout! Factory and GKIDS present Another Day Of Life. Directed by: Raul de la Fuente & Damian Nenow. Screenplay by: Raul de la Fuente, Amaia Remirez, David Weber, Niall Johnson & Damian Nenow. Starring: Kerry Shale, Daniel Flynn, Youssef Kerkour, Lillie Flynn, Akie Kotabe, Ben Elliot & Emma Tate. Rated: Unrated. Running Time: 85 minutes. Released: February 18, 2020.

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