US, 2013, 65 min, in Mandarin with English subtitles
While living in a "shift-bed" apartment in the heart of New York City's Chinatown, a household of immigrants shares their stories of personal and political upheaval
"A strikingly handsome, meditative work."
Kennebec Journal / Morning Star
This is no ordinary documentary. This is film, a canvas, a moving poem. It never stands still. It moves and it moves us.
The films of Lynne Sachs travel to exotic places, but find themselves concerned primarily with the universal qualities of the everyday. They revisit war zones but refuse to foreground the idea of War as humanity’s most fascinating pursuit. They are experimental in nature yet can offer straightforward and earnest approaches to literal problems. They defy expectations for radical art.
Austin Film Society
I just finished watching the mesmerizing, thought/emotion-provoking experimental doc by Lynne Sachs.
Your Day is My Night is a strikingly handsome, meditative work: a mixture of reportage, dreams, memories and playacting, which immerses you in an entire world that you might unknowingly pass on the corner of Hester Street, unable to guess what’s behind the fifth-floor windows.
Ann Hornaday, The Washington Post
Using beds as a metaphor for privacy, intimacy and power, the film explores intercultural and trans-historical dialogue.
Vancouver International Film Festival
Innovative in form and revealing in content, Lynne Sachs’ tenderly poetic "hybrid documentary" uses scripted monologues, improvised scenes and vérité footage to paint a vivid portrait of contemporary immigrant life in "shift-bed" rooming houses in New York’s Chinatown. Sachs’ film not only explores an alluring urban milieu, it also delves into the less defined spaces that divide traditional documentary and scripted films.
David Finkelstein, Film Threat
Your Day is My Night is a fascinating and innovative portrait of Chinese immigrant life…. Invents a style of filmmaking in which the storytelling skills of the subjects are tapped to make them into effective collaborators in a sophisticated film which creates a vivid sense of the inner lives of immigrants in New York.
Betsy Sherman, The Boston Arts Fuse
The subtitled dialogue isn’t the movie’s only form of communication. Movement signifies spiritual as well as physical vitality. The elders are shown practicing tai chi, vertically and, as if to suggest there isn’t always room for that, horizontally in bed. To illustrate the bonds between roommates, hands work in tandem with tongues. As a woman talks about sharing a bed with her grandmother (for so long that imprints of their bodies were left are the mattress), she combs a roommate’s hair. As one man talks about the stone bed of his childhood, he massages the shoulders of another. Passages that visually mimic home movies serve as an oblique connection with the singer’s belief that his voice helps people in insulated Chinatown “go back to the homeland of their dreams.” Spending time with this interdependent community makes one recognize new meanings in small actions. A fresh, new pillowcase ceases to be merely a fresh, new pillowcase: the act of placing it over a pillow becomes a gesture of respect.