Dark Days [Import]
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None of these questions are answered by the DVD's intriguing short film on how "Dark Days" was made.
What we do get is a quick picture of a man obsessed by a group of homeless living in an abandoned train tunnel underneath New York. The other reviewers have pointed out how unsentimental, yet full the depiction of these people is. I agree. I'd go further. It's like an angel was dropped out of the sky to make this movie, and then vanished.
Okay, so that's hyperbole.
But that's the kind of whacky thought that occurs to you when you watch the hand-twisting, blushing director describe the movie he made - perhaps the best frickin' movie ever made about homeless people...EVER - the fact that making the flick drove him temporarily into homelessness, the fact that this guy out of NOWHERE wins all the dang Sundance awards a few years back not only for the message, but for the astoundingly beautiful cinematography, yet the kid never made films before... yadda yadda yadda.
This is a landmark film. More hyperbole, perhaps. But the plight of the homeless is one of the biggest problems facing the industrial West. And yet...and yet...zero discussion. Zero concern. Instead, we get a lot of lip about how the homeless are lazy and shiftless and live off the government, etc. "Dark Days" shows that the homeless are people. Humans. Complete and beautiful, flawed and ugly. The whole deal. How can you walk away from this movie and see a panhandler without a feeling of, not pity or compassion, but empathy?
For people who haven't seen it and want to know if they'd like it: Well, it's about homeless people who live underground in a tunnel and make a little shantytown there in the dark. If this sounds promising to you, you won't be disapointed. If you're superficial and easily grossed out you won't like it. Also: It's in black and white. There, that should divert the people who would not give this movie its proper five stars. Back to the rest of you: It's mainly interview-driven, and they have helpful subtitles so you know the difference between Tito and Clarence, say, because instead of doing everyone seperately and one at a time, the way the 7up-42up movies do, they keep coming back to people, and you see lots of them hanging out together, so it's important to know who is who. And it moves pretty fluidly between the hilarious, the tragic, the fascinating and the adorable. The whole buffet of experience and emotion. These people really opened up to this guy, and when you see the making-of bit, you understand why. The director and the subjects have in common that they endured conditions that would crush most people, and did an amazing job with what they had. I want to know what happens to all of them for the rest of their lives.
The DVD extras are almost better than the documentary itself, with 15 extra scenes that don't add much to the narrative of the story but are extremely entertaining and fun to watch. There's a happy ending that feels a bit tacked on, but also reflects Mark Singer's determination to save these people and get them above ground.
What struck me about this film is that it was made on such a limited budget by people who lived in the tunnel. There were no prima-donna actors, directors and producers. As a result, the film is an honest portrayal of life under the tunnels.
There is excellent information on how the film was made at [web page], and you can also catch some samples of the haunting music from the film.
The film inspired me to learn more about the people living in the tunnels under New York. Two books I would recommend on the subject are "The Mole People" by Jennifer Toth, and "The Tunnel" by Margaret Morton.
Most recent customer reviews
Amazing film. Everyone should see this, if not just for the soundtrack by DJ Shadow.Published 15 months ago by Jaselyn Poirier
Really good movie on the insight of sub-terrain homeless people.Published 16 months ago by renedare123
'Dark Days' is a documentary about homeless people living in the subway system in New York City. I got bored with is fast and didn't like that it was filmed in black and white. Read morePublished on May 7 2004 by Dhaval Vyas
If you are a fan of documentary film then this is a must see. This is a beautiful film that both inspires you and saddens you at the same time. Please watch this!Published on Oct. 26 2002 by Scott Perez
Marc Singer's self-produced documentary on the tortured lives of homeless people living in the dark and dreary tunnels of an abandoned New York subway is, quite simply, a work of... Read morePublished on Sept. 27 2002 by Todd Altman
This is one of the best films I've seen on homelessness. The individuals in the film speak for themselves and it is their words that reveal the truth of the matter. Read morePublished on July 6 2002 by A. Ort