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The City Dark The City Dark The City Dark

DIRECTED BY: Ian Cheney 
FORMAT: USA, 2011, 84 min; HDCam, BluRay
LOGLINE: After moving to New York City from rural Maine, filmmaker Ian Cheney asks a simple question, “Do we need the stars?”


    THE CITY DARK chronicles the disappearance of darkness. The film follows filmmaker (and amateur astronomer) Ian Cheney, who moves to New York City from Maine and discovers an urban sky almost completely devoid of stars. Posing a deceptively simple question—“What do we lose, when we lose the night?”—the film leads viewers on a quest to understand how light pollution affects people and the planet. In six chapters weaving together cutting-edge science with personal, meditative sequences reflecting on the human relationship to the sky, THE CITY DARK shines new light on the meaning of the dark.



    "Ian Cheney's poetic, at times profound, film sheds, well, light on how the constant increase of modern-day artificial illumination has brightened our urban - and many suburban - night skies to the point that the stars and planets can often barely be seen."
    - Gary Goldstein, - THE LOS ANGELES TIMES

  • "The most important thing "The City Dark" has to tell us is that by losing touch with the stars, we've lost touch with something that inspired our distant ancestors in a profoundly spiritual way."
    - Michael D. Lemonick, - TIME MAGAZINE

  • "A documentary about light pollution that is entertaining and thought-provoking? It hardly seems possible, but that's what Ian Cheney has made in "The City Dark."
    - Neil Genzlinger, - THE NEW YORK TIMES

  • "Wonder, open-mindedness, and curiosity are the best things about “The City Dark"
    - Mark Feeney, - THE BOSTON GLOBE

  • "'The City Dark' is more poetry than science."

  • "A gorgeous, tragic essay on the effect light pollution has on viewing the night sky, will make even the most dedicated city-dweller wince."
    — Eric Kohn, INDIEWIRE

  • "Thoughtful and yes, illuminating."

    "Impressive images of star-filled nights will remind auds of childhood trips to the planetarium"
    —Jay Weissberg, VARIETY

  • "A fetching, personal investigation".

  • "Informative in the best sense—genuinely inquisitive and exploratory ... as beautiful to look at as it is eye-opening in its content...This is a truly enlightening film, the increasingly rare documentary that not only opens your eyes to what the filmmaker considers an important issue, but also has the power to expand your perceptions in valuable and even life-affirming ways."
    — Kenji Fujishima, SLANT MAGAZINE

  • "Moving"

  • "An absolutely beautiful film from its quiet, nostalgic beginning to the final rapid-fire revelations from the compelling individuals we meet throughout"
    — Nick GioBarbieri, AUTINIST

  • "The City Dark will make us reconsider how much illumination can darken life as we know it."
    — Jenn Brown, SLACKERWOOD

  • "The film touches on...that childlike sense of wonder we still get when looking up at the night sky."
    — Victoria Jaggard, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

© Argot Pictures 2006. All rights reserved.