Not interested in seeing Transformers: Dark Of The Moon, nor Larry Crowne this weekend, AND you live in New York City? No sweat, you won’t be missing much. Trust me on that!
But if you’re still itching to sit in a darkened theater to watch images flicker from a project across a large screen, at 24 frames per second, then may I suggest you check out Marc Singer’s critically acclaimed documentary Dark Days, which opens at the Cinema Village today, July 1st.
Originally released in 2000, the documentary premiered at the Sundance Film Festival that year, where it won the Audience, Cinematography and Freedom Of Expression Awards in the documentary category, as well as the Best Documentary Award at the 2001 Independent Spirit Awards, and the Best Documentary Award from the 2000 Los Angeles Film Critics Association.
It went on to gross about $430,000 during its brief theatrical run.
Earlier this year, Oscilloscope Laboratories acquired worldwide rights to the film, after being out of circulation, and unavailable for years, and is re-releasing it for those who interested in seeing it, who may have missed the initial opportunity a decade ago.
The story goes… When he relocated from London to NYC, Singer was struck by the number of homeless people throughout the city, befriending several of them, and later, through them, heard about those who were living underground in abandoned railway tunnels. Intrigued, he met and became close to a group of these homeless underground folks, and even lived with them for several months, which inspired him to make this documentary (he wasn’t even a filmmaker) hoping that its release could get these folks some attention, and even help them out financially.
Shot in gritty, high contrast 16mm black and white film, with a crew that comprised of the film’s subjects, Dark Days documents the dozen or so men and women living in virtual darkness, as they go about their daily lives, sharing their histories, their hopes and dreams.
So, I encourage you to see it if you can; I saw it earlier this week, via a screener, and it’s a noirish, haunting, unromanticized and thoroughly captivating look at the “dark days” (both literally and figuratively) of a forgotten community of people surviving in NYC’s underground. Most impressive is that Singer spent an incredible two years in the tunnels, involving the people he was documenting, in the production process.
It likely won’t be in theaters for very long. Although, Oscilloscope will also release it on DVD on July 19th. The disk will contain several new features compiled specifically for this special tenth anniversary re-release.
Here’s an old preview: