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Dark Days [Import]

4.5 out of 5 stars 22 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Format: Black & White, Subtitled, NTSC, Import
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada This DVD will probably NOT be viewable in other countries. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 2
  • MPAA Rating: UNRATED
  • Studio: Oscilloscope
  • Release Date: July 19 2011
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars 22 customer reviews
  • ASIN: B004YEMK7O
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Product Description

Dark Days

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
Who's this guy, Mark Singer? Why was he crawling around in the tunnels beneath New York City? Where did he go after making this film?
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?
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Format: VHS Tape
Guys guys guys, if you saw it on the sundance channel or wherever, you need to see the dvd for the special features, which shows the making of, which is astounding, and the update on where everyone is now.

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.
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Format: DVD
Director Mark Singer spent about three years working and living in the tunnels of NYC, where a group of homeless people squatted, sometimes for years. These people have set up makeshift shacks, complete with electricity, occasional "running water," decorations (one man paints "NO CRACK") on his doorway, and pets. For a group living in squalor and rats, they talk endlessly about keeping clean, eating properly (kosher restaurants are the cleanest!) and being safe. Theyre overall a smart, resilient bunch, and the movie has some very funny moments as well as more serious ones. Dark Days is fascinating, both for the stereotypes it confirms (drug use and mental illness are major players in the sad descent of the homeless) and refutes. Some of the characters become very memorable. One is Ralph, a middle-aged Puerto Rican, a former crack addict, with a soft-spoken, articulate demeanor. Ronnie, despite the obvious ravages of homelessness and drug addiction, still retains a kind of boyish, hustling charm as he describes all the money he makes from selling knickknacks on the side. Then there's Tommy, a runaway from an abusive family who if he cleaned up could be an Abercrombie and Fitch model. Dee is the only woman in the group, and one of the most memorable moments in the documentary is when Ralph tells Dee to quit smoking crack, and Dee points out that Ralph constantly smokes pot. "But all dope makes me do is like eat eat eat" says Ralph.
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.
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Format: DVD
One evening I was flipping through channels on the TV and came across "Dark Days" on Sundance Channel. I have not seen the DVD so I can only comment on the version that ran on Sundance. It was the most riveting documentary I have ever seen. Although it has been six months since I caught it on TV, and I haven't been able to catch a rerun since, I have not been able to forget it. I came to care about the people living in the tunnel, and when the film was over, I felt as if I had just lost touch with some friends.
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.
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