YOUR DAY IS MY NIGHT
Directed by Lynne Sachs
Official Selection, 2013 Vancouver International Film Festival
“Moon… working / sun… sleep.” Shift beds, which exist in China and below-the-radar in the U.S., provide a place to sleep by the hour, largely for the working poor far from home. In the aptly titled YOUR DAY IS MY NIGHT, experimental filmmaker Lynne Sachs probes the informal family formed within the tight quarters of one such shift bed apartment in the heart of New York Chinatown.
Beautifully blending anecdotes, evocative audio textures, and an ensemble of elderly immigrant performers/participants, YOUR DAY IS MY NIGHT is sumptuous and exploratory, bringing us a Chinatown we have never seen before in film. Working with interviews and non-actors, some of whom are shift bed residents themselves, Sachs uses a dedicated mix of storytelling modes, including stage performances and poetry, blended in with Chinese wedding singing and line dances. Where the film truly flowers is in its many moments of casual intimacy – chopping a watermelon, combing hair, massaging a friend’s shoulders – and the luxury of hearing remarkable stories that emerge from old folks: snakeheads, family violence under Chairman Mao, a nightclub named after Chinese wage pay, mattresses for the poor, a mother’s imprint in a bed.
Sachs’ camera roams through a Chinatown that goes above and below ground level; vivid scenes in weddings, mahjong parlors, choked bedrooms, and cramped kitchens trace an urban network that feels as palpable, dense, and human as the Internet can often feel, with feared borders and struggle deep in the pores. –Christina Ree
Co-presented by: San Diego Chinese Historical Museum